Is There Any Power in PowerPoint?

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Have you  ever noticed that effective speakers rarely use PowerPoints? Speakers know that they’re the reason that there’s people in the seats, and that they’re the star, not a PowerPoint presentation, no matter how well it’s done.

For years we’ve communicated successfully by using our verbal skills. the “Experts” (whoever they are) say the best method is story telling and the best stories are those that aren’t memorized, practiced or rehearsed. If your topic is something that you have a passion for notes and PowerPoint slides aren’t necessary and will actually detract from what you have to say.

How many times have you sat in on a keynote and because you were so busy writing down what was on the PowerPoint that you missed out on what was being said? It’s also been said that PowerPoints are not only a distraction, but too often they’re used as a crutch for those who aren’t confident in their speaking abilities.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy putting a PowerPoint together, I just don’t like nor endorse using them because I’ve found myself leaning on them when giving a talk or presentation. I find the same for using notes. I almost feel mechanical and lose the passion and the ability to stay loose which I think are important ingredients for an effective speaker.

Making eye contact with your audience is necessary. How else can you gauge whether your audience is listening to you or not? If your head and eyes are focused on notes or your carefully crafted PowerPoint you will miss reaction or non reaction by your audience.

Here’s some clues that your audience isn’t listening:

Yawning
Sleeping
Fidgeting
Texting on the BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, etc.
Playing Hang Man, Solitaire, etc. on the iPad
Flirting with the girl/guy next to you
Many trips to the restroom
Many trips to the restroom and not returning
Many trips to the restroom, not returning with the girl/guy you were flirting with earlier
Frequent glances at wrist watch

I hope you’re getting the message I’m attempting to convey. If you haven’t here it is. If you can’t do without a PowerPoint, keep it brief.

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