Better Presentation Skills – Don’t Rely on Technology and PowerPoint!

In speaking, PowerPoint and visual aids have their place. They can engage an audience, make them laugh, or reinforce your points. However, most people use visual aids very poorly.

These days, I choose to not use PowerPoint in my presentations. I did once for one of my very first engagements, simply because before agreeing to use me the client said, “send us your PowerPoint.” Not knowing any better, I went out and created one for the client.

I have to say that as a speaker I can see the appeal. The presentation was so easy because my PowerPoint basically served as my notes! I didn’t have to think about what to do or say next, because I would just click “next” and boom! There on the screen was what I was supposed to talk about.

However, the fact that this makes presenting easier is no reason to do it poorly. When I tell clients or an audience that I am not using PowerPoint, they almost always let out a sigh of relief. Some burst out into applause! Why do you think that is? Because most PowerPoint stinks! People put too much information on their slides, put on images that are out of focus or too small to read, and worst of all, just stand there and read the slides to the audience. That is the kiss of death!

Your visual aids, whatever they are, must support your speech, but they should never be a crutch. As you prepare your visuals, ask yourself one simple question: if the A/V went down, could I still deliver my content effectively? If the answer is “no,” then you need to re-work the slides until the answer is “yes.”

In fact, for your next presentation create it as if you were going to deliver it without visuals. Then, go back and add in visuals that will support points, add impact, aid retention, or make people laugh.

Your audience will thank you.

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