Despite what you might have heard, a presentation without PowerPoint is much better for you and for your audience.
Forget all the books trying to convince you that a good presentation is all about slide design.
A good presentation is all about the presenter and how they talk to their audience.
Here are 5 do’s and 1 don’t to help you do an awesome presentation without PowerPoint.
Do plan so you can remember what to say
Most people are used to using their PowerPoint slides as a replacement for cue cards. Presenting this way gives comfort to the presenter, but provides a terrible experience for the audience.
To deliver a presentation with PowerPoint, planning is key.
The first step is to have a full understanding of your subject matter. If you know your subject matter well then you will be in a much better position to deliver your presentation.
Once you have a good understanding of your subject, the next step is outline your talk in a way which is easy for you to remember. The key to making your talk easy to remember is to limit the talking points to three or less.
Here’s an example of the talking points of a presentation about a company dress code:
- The context for the new dress code
- Problems with the old dress code
- The advantages of the new dress code
Now that you have three talking points, and you know your subject matter well, it’s much easier to deliver your presentation without PowerPoint.
Do frame your talk for your audience
With or without slides, your presentation will not be well received unless it is framed for the audience.
What do I mean by “framed for the audience”?
You need to explain to the audience what’s in it for them. You need to tell the audience why your talk is relevant to them and why they need to pay attention.
The consequences of not framing for the audience are your presentation becomes just another boring lecture; where the audience think about their work, what to make for dinner, or what they will do on the weekend.
Here’s an example of how to frame a presentation about a change to the company dress code:
“Today I’d like to discuss how we’re going to make your working day easier for you.”
This opening gets attention because it is audience-focused and it stimulates the audience’s curiosity.
Do interact with your audience
In a social discussion a sure-fire way to turn off your friends is for you to do all the talking.
The same is true in a presentation.
You are more likely to engage your audience if you talk to them and ask them questions. This switches your presentation from a lecture format to a discussion format.
Do make use of a whiteboard or flip-chart
When you take away PowerPoint it can be feel daunting standing on stage with all eyes on you.
While this is the best way to keep your audience engaged, it can be helpful to have strategies to calm your nerves.
One of those strategies is to make use of a whiteboard or flip-chart.
Starting with a blank page. Write notes or draw diagrams as you talk to illustrate the point you are trying to get across.
This is more engaging for an audience than a projected slide because it is more dynamic. Additionally, it can help to calm your nerves because you have something to do other than simply look out to your audience.
Do encourage questions as you go
You have two options with questions in your presentation:
- Take questions as you go along
- Ask the audience to save questions until the end
When you do your presentation without PowerPoint it is helpful to take questions as you go along.
It promotes a discussion format versus a lecture format, which helps you to relax on stage.
An additional benefit is that, if you are presenting a topic which proves controversial, potentially negative questions are balanced throughout your talk; rather than bunched up at the end where they are more likely to leave a bad impression.
Don’t memorize a script
The biggest mistake you can make is to try and memorize a script.
Given time constraints a memorized script will sound robotic. It also locks you in to a delivery format that is harder to adjust if the audience’s needs change.
Focus on a dynamic delivery, supported by strong knowledge of your subject matter and you’ll maintain an engaged audience ready to take action after your presentation.