How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ever found yourself watching a presentation and slowly losing the will to live?

I’m sure you’ve been there; sat in a seminar room or meeting as the speaker stands looking at their slides, slowly reading them to the audience, as the audience struggles to maintain concentration.

With way too many poor presentations, based on way too many slides, with way too many words is it any wonder that that surveys about fear often show more people to be afraid of public speaking than death?

It doesn’t have to be like that

A well-crafted presentation starts with an idea, not by staring at a blank PowerPoint or Keynote slide.

In fact, the best presentations do not rely on PowerPoint or Keynote at all, but rather only use slides when they support the content being delivered by the speaker.
Instead of reading slides, the world’s best speakers engage their audiences with entertaining and inspirational stories, appropriately structured content and confident, passionate delivery.

Watching a great speaker at work is like watching a great chef

A great chef understands that some of the best dishes are about simplicity and that, often, less is more. They avoid over complicating a dish and confusing it with too many flavours. Great chefs are passionate about the dishes they create and have a deep understanding of the ingredients they use. They carefully assemble each dish to excite multiple senses (sight, smell, taste) and yet when you observe them in the kitchen you will not see them reading a recipe.

A great speaker is similar. They break down the concepts they are sharing into simple ‘bite-sized’ chunks. They avoid confusing their audience with too many unrelated ideas and concepts. The best speakers have a passion for their subject and a deep understanding of the how it can help their audience. They carefully assemble their presentation to stimulate the audience is multiple ways (sight, sound, emotions) and like the best chefs you will not see them reading notes on stage.

But, here’s the thing….

The chef still has a recipe even if you don’t see. Just because you don’t see them reading a list of ingredients and a point by point method these structures still exist and when the best speakers step on stage they are following a structure too.

By understanding the key components of a great presentation (the ingredients) and how to structure a presentation (the method), great speakers make their delivery look effortless, just like the greatest chefs. They also walk on stage with the certainty that they can deliver to a consistently high standard.

As for PowerPoint or Keynote, that is a garnish to compliment the true content of a presentation.