PowerPoint is so ubiquitous that a meeting isn’t nearly a meeting without a few slides. Is there another way to communicate or are we all doomed to experience “death by PowerPoint”?
There are alternatives
PowerPoint was invented less than a hundred years ago. Lack of PowerPoint didn’t stop Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Martin Luther and Einstein! Maybe it’s worth looking at some alternatives.
“Live & Unplugged”
If your message is straightforward and doesn’t contain too many facts and figures, why not stand up and say it?
Cicero, Demosthenes and Churchill often talked like this.
For this to work, you need to prepare your message carefully. It forces you to pare down to the basics and focus on what really matters.
If you are going to answer questions, you need to know your subject well enough to be able to think on your feet. You can ask the “red team” possible questions and prepare your answers to them. See “Further Reading” for more details!
If someone asks you to share your content electronically, you can have a document with speaker notes ready or get someone to film your conversation and share the recording.
Flipcharts are an effective way to visually share “low-density” information.
They are also very useful for “co-creation”, where your presentation is more of a discussion and the output is something you co-create with your audience.
Paul Ardern, the Saatchi and Saatchi advertising legend, recommends making pitches for advertising campaign stories this way. It allows users to participate in the creation process from the beginning. It also shows how willing you are to listen to your customers.
Sharing results electronically is easy. Take pictures of each finished page by phone and share them via email.
Many people present PowerPoint slides with densely written text and diagrams.
Data projectors display what’s on the screen, so if you’ve already written a Word document and know which pages you want to show, why duplicate the effort by copying the text into a PowerPoint file?
If the document is a draft, it is also possible to get public input and revise it on the fly.
It adds authenticity to the meeting. You are showing the original document. What your audience sees during the presentation makes it easier and more reliable to share the information they get.
If you’re presenting numbers like ROI or cost estimates or a set of accounts, you can show your audience a spreadsheet with the calculations in it.
The advantage of this is that you can once again discuss with the customer how accurate your estimates are and make adjustments on the fly. It involves the customer in a creative process that builds trust.
Some salespeople have been known to intentionally save less than expected costs, such as salaries. They allow their customers to correct their statistics so that the final ROI number increases and the customer seems to have figured it out on their own.
Make a video
You can expect your audience to passively consume your message or ask questions afterward.
Why not just create a video, share it electronically, and give your audience a deadline to submit questions?
Video editing software is readily available and not too difficult to learn. You can use it to mix different formats of media including audio, written text and moving images.
Once the video is finished, it’s not too difficult to share it electronically.
Do you need a presentation?
If you’re planning to read what’s in PowerPoint to your audience and then follow up with a Q&A session, why not send them a text to read before the meeting?
This gives your audience more time to “digest” the information and they can prepare questions independently without worrying about the social aspect of asking questions in front of a group.
Let’s get in touch!
Are you planning a show? Would you like to consider alternative delivery methods? Let’s talk and see what we can put together!
To read more…
Here are some more articles on the topic of presentations: