Have you ever sat through a boring presentation? I’m going to guess your answer is “yes”. Invariably, when we ask this question to our program participants, all hands go up.
Think back to those presentations. I’m willing to bet there was a common element: a deck of densely packed PowerPoint slides behind the speaker.
Now, I don’t know about you, but as soon as I see slides like this in a presentation, my attention immediately starts to wane. You would think that visual information, graphics and graphs would enliven and enrich a presentation. But it’s not the software itself that’s the problem – it’s how it’s being used.
So how can we communicate more effectively – without relying heavily on PowerPoint?
In part one of our two-part video series Presenting Without Slides, I talk about why PowerPoint is such a presentation killer, and how to reframe your approach to using slide deck software in a way that is more engaging to your audience.
1. Only use slides if they add value to your presentation
For tens of thousands of years, humans have demonstrated effective communication without PowerPoint. Global businesses have been built, wars won and lost, worlds ‘discovered’ and centuries of learning compiled and shared without the use of PowerPoint. Projected imagery itself is, of course, a modern invention.
And while there is value in visual aids, we need to start thinking of ourselves as communicators first.
If the PowerPoint deck communicates the message or is used to simply format content ideas, then hand it out for people to read and follow it with a Q&A. Presenting is foremost a spoken, auditory experience with the visuals providing support and value.
Each slide needs to be rigorously and brutally assessed with this question: “How does this slide enrich, deepen or support the message?”
2. Be confident presenting without props
Imagine you walk into the room – no PowerPoint presentation behind you, no notes, no visual aids, no clicker in hand. You simply stand there in front of your audience and speak with zest and authenticity.
If you do this, you convey to your audience the quality of authority. You’re saying, “I am confident enough to stand before you without the props to help me, because I am enough. What I have to share and say is enough value in and of itself.”
When you own the space, you become the powerful communicator.
Ask yourself, “If the projector exploded, or the whiteboard magically melted, could I still deliver the outcome? Would I have enough confidence in myself to articulate and convey my messages in a manner that engages and enriches my audience – and deepens their ability to apply what I have presented?”
Your answer must be “Yes!” It’s that simple. And that challenging.
Don’t believe me? Well, why not try it for yourself?
3. See yourself as a visual aid
The third step to avoiding a dreary presentation is to think of yourself as a visual aid. Yes – you are the reference point! The other stuff you bring into the room is just collateral that either supports or distracts from what you have to say.
Your physiology, gestures and voice can create interest, intrigue, imagery and emphasis.
So forget the slideshow and become the performer. Become the presentation. Be original, be creative and only add slides and other tools to support your performance.
If you don’t feel quite up to it yet, don’t worry – we’ve got just the thing to help.
Join us at our next Public Speaking Workshop, save 22% with our Early Bird special by registering 1 month in advance. Break the shackles of nerves and learn how to build and deliver engaging presentations to amplify your audience experience.
No more hiding behind PowerPoint slides – remember, it’s your message (and how you deliver it) that will make you a star!
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional development with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.