SHOULD you use PowerPoint in your presentations or has it run its course? Is it time to strike out and go back to speaking with the aid of a few well-drawn diagrams on a flip chart?
There are some who would argue that PowerPoint is actually a hindrance to a speech rather than an adjunct. How many of you have been to a conference only to be drowned in hundreds of boring slides full of words that are too small to decipher and understand?
The real issue is the operator, not the slides. Dropping PowerPoint altogether forces both the presenter and the audience to engage in different behaviours.
The presenter is forced to provide information that is lively and attention-grabbing, or at the very least can hold the audience’s attention. And the audience is forced to pay attention because there are no slides to distract them.
It is a bit like the pendulum on a grandfather clock — it swings in a wide arc and is constantly on the move. The use of PowerPoint is a bit like that too. At the moment we are at one end of the pendulum swing, with people tired of the interminable slides, and just wanting a quality speech.
Remember though that the pendulum is constantly on the move, so think of it as an opportunity to refine what you are doing with your training or sales presentations and speeches to the board.
Keep the momentum going and blend the use of slides with good stories that capture your audience’s minds as well as provide visual entertainment.
Use the power of a visual image — for example, a photo — to demonstrate your point rather than a bunch of dot points. I collect photos constantly from my travels around the world and try to use them in my work. They make my slides far more appealing and still emphasise the point I want to make.
He showed the photo of a couple of bags of rubbish with a date five years prior at the bottom of the slide, which represented waste produced in the hospital.
He then showed a photograph of a huge pile of rubbish bags from the loading dock stacked up just the day before the presentation with the date clearly displayed.
This simple comparison of visual images grabbed the audience’s attention, demonstrated his point and hit home the importance of minimising waste.
So, next time you prepare a speech, think carefully about your approach and see if you can get that pendulum to swing nicely across the full range of your work.
Balance the words with some good sharp images, preferably original, photos. If you use someone else’s image you may have to pay a royalty fee for the privilege.
As you prepare your presentation, keep repeating this mantra in your mind. “What will be easier for my audience to understand, words or an image?”
Article by Lindsay Adams, relationship marketing specialist, international speaker with Training Edge International and 2009 – 2010 international president of the Global Speakers Federation. For more information, e-mail Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.trainingedgeasia.com