Imagine a Presentation without PowerPoint

Imagine a Presentation without PowerPoint

What? You’re giving a presentation without PowerPoint! Are you crazy?

That might be the reaction you would hear if you announced that you were planning to deliver your next presentation without the crutch of PowerPoint.

PowerPoint is a presentation tool for presenters who want their notes on the screen. Why know your presentation when you can read it from the screen? Most presenters might as well warn their audience at the beginning of their presentation. “Hi, I couldn’t be bothered to practice and learn my presentation so I’m just going to read the words on the screen to you. And I hope that you won’t notice that I am insulting you by reading what you see.”

How do you feel when the presenter reads the words on the screen to you?

Do you think, “Wow, what a great presenter. He can read the same words that I see on the screen.”?

Or do you think, “Why is this speaker treating us like children?”

PowerPoint is an easy-to-use presentation software. It’s so easy to use that it makes people stupid. They forget to ask, “What is the best way to get my message across?” They fail to ask, “Should I use PowerPoint for me presentation?” Instead they act like Borg drones, “If I deliver a presentation we must use PowerPoint. Resistance is futile.” I salute Microsoft and the power of their marketing.

It’s funny what people get used to. How easy we accept mediocrity. When I presented at a conference in Vancouver this week I instructed the AV guy to turn off the computer projector because I won’t use it. His response was, “Oh, you don’t have a presentation?”

Isn’t that curious that he equated presentation with PowerPoint.

I laughed while pointing to my head and said, “Of course I have a presentation and it’s in here. It won't get lost and it won’t break down.”

PowerPoint is a presentation crutch for handicapped presenters. It doesn’t make them better presenters. It emphasizes their handicap.

Presentation does not equal PowerPoint.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Business Presentation Skills Training

Avoid the PowerPoint Sins

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Any comments about PowerPoint on this blog are not endorsed by Microsoft and are the opinions of this blogger.

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Impromptu Public Speaking

Impromptu Speaking

Sometimes you might be asked to give comments or a presentation without advance notice. You might be tempted to think on your feet. I strongly suggest that you do not think on your feet. It is easy to get yourself into trouble. Instead always be prepared to speak on very short notice. Impromptu speaking is similar to regular presenting – in that both are based on skill development. The better you know and practice the techniques the more it looks like talent.

Here are some techniques to help you with impromptu speaking.

Be prepared with some favourite stories that you tell well and can use to illustrate more than one message as required.

Quickly write three points on an index card – then talk about those points. Decide on the one thing that you want to get across – and deliver that message.

Conduct your speech as an interview with yourself. Ask questions – and answer them.

Don’t think on your feet – instead be prepared.

George Torok

Speech Coach for Executives

Presentation Skills Training

Presentation Structure

Presentation Structure

There are many presentation structures that you can choose from. Here are a few examples of presentation structure for you.

Business Conclusion
When you speak to a business group the most effective approach is to state your conclusions first, the actions required then follow with supporting information. That would be an effective business speech.

Scientific MethodThe most boring and ineffectual presentation style to use with a business group is the scientific method that many of us learned in school. The scientific method starts with a problem, followed by a hypothesis, a method, results and conclusion. That sounds logical but most people in business today do not have the patience to listen to that litany. We want the answer first. Speak – don’t lecture.

Q&A structureAnother simple presentation structure that works is to tell your audience that you will answer the most common questions you have heard. Then you state the question and answer it. This is one of the easiest ways to give a speech. It sounds like a conversation and you will find it easier to remember. All you need to remember are the questions because you already know the answers. The best speech feels like a conversation.

Pain and ReliefAn effective sales technique is to first reveal or describe their pain, fear or problem. Then you offer the relief to the pain. The relief from pain and desire for pleasure are powerful motivators. Just don’t dwell on the pain too long. Think ‘plop, plop fizz, fizz.’

George Torok
Presentation Skills Training
Executive Speech Coach