In modern business, if there’s a presentation, there’s a PowerPoint with it. (Or, one of the programs that resemble it.) It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten how to present without one. Unfortunately, this has led to a lot of dull, rote presentations – as well as felony-level PowerPoint abuse. As David Ogilvy famously quipped, “most people use PowerPoint like a drunk uses a lamppost – for support rather than for illumination.”
The victims? Those of us in the audience. Presenters put too much information on slides, distract their audiences with bad clip art and tiny font, and read directly from their own presentations instead of conversing with stories and ideas.
For presenters who want to be distinctive, the tide has definitely turned back. Old school is once again new. It can be fresh to deliver without a PowerPoint at all. It’s akin to getting a handwritten thank you card rather than a cursory email – it feels special.
We may not have a choice about whether to use slides. However, when there is an option, get creative. How could you deliver without a PowerPoint, or use it in a very limited or unusual way? If you want you – and your message – to stand out, challenge yourself to try some of these ideas.
Mix up your media.
We all learn in different ways, so mix up the media and engage your audience through various senses. See how you can illustrate your points through photos, music, demos, and videos. It can even be helpful to provide something tangible for your audience to hold in their hands. I once saw a speaker pass around a watch his grandfather had made to illustrate the diversity of entrepreneurship in our society.
There’s also the option of incorporating social media into a presentation. Some studies claim that posting during a presentation increases engagement from the audience.