How to present without PowerPoints

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I’ve presentered with PowerPoints and without them. There are certainly advantages to both:

With PowerPoints

Allows us to present visuals

Allows us to stay on track

Can be shared with audience members later – but really I’ve never looked a PowerPoint again from a presentation I attended. Do people routinely do that?

Slideshare allows us to share our PowerPoints online and is a quite effective tool to continue sharing our message. To participate there, we do need a PowerPoint deck.

No PowerPoints

Allows us to not be so tight to slides. The story’s presentation still needs to be practiced (assuming everyone practices their PowerPoints ?).

Allows to spend time on practicing our delivery and not producing PowerPoint decks.

This can also make presenting easier. Some set-ups had presenters continuously look back (and away from the audience) to see what slide is up. That’s not good on many levels.

The keynotes and presentations that I’ve given without PowerPoints have been far and few in-between but have been on the shorter side of my presentation lengths – usually between 15-60 minutes.

I couldn’t imagine doing a three-hour workshop without a PowerPoint deck, though, it’s probably possible.

So here’s how I will move forward with keynotes and presentations:

PowerPoints are not the starting point. They are a tool when necessary. And they aren’t always required.

My process to determine their use:

  • Determine audience (what do they know and what are they likely to want to know from me)
  • My topic and specific expertise to share with this audience
  • Length of presentation
  • I then create an outline and in my head walk through the pieces, including what stories, examples and jokes (as applicable) I will share.
  • If there are some authentic and original photos or images that are absolutely necessary, I might create some slides. Sometimes slides work well for dramatic effect, in which case I might use them even if there are no other slides.
  • Decision point: Do I really need slides? If I have a few great photos I will likely still use a deck. If I don’t, I will likely go without one.

I’ve already declared my hopes that 2016 will be the year of being real and relevant with each other.

Maybe 2016 can also be the year of better and more engaging presentation and the death of unnecessary PowerPoints.

TED Talk speakers have done it. Standup comedians, too. They have engaged audiences without slides.

It’s possible.