PowerPoint Presentation Alternatives

Question - PowerPoint or another format?

To PowerPoint or Not To PowerPoint – A Presentation Quandary

Presentation Alternatives or Full Power(Point) Ahead?

You are giving a presentation.

Do you consider alternatives to PowerPoint for your presentation? Or is your first thought to get PowerPoint fired up?

Perhaps you’re full of ideas and start creating slides. And then you begin to wonder how many slides you should you have?

Ah, yes, Google it! Oh, one answer says 10 slides for a 10-minute presentation and another says 25 for 15 minutes.

But you don’t know how long your presentation will take and no one has mentioned a time limit. Perhaps best not to go on too long though.

PowerPoint Nightmares

Thoughts come flooding back of previous presentations you’ve seen.

There are the dreary ones where the presenter reads the words from the slides and everyone’s at the bottom when she’s half way down.

Oh, yes, and there was the graphic designer. You’d looked forward to this one anticipating lots of arty stuff. Instead, he had his full script on slides. Yes, really! The arty bit was limited to each one having a different coloured background.

And then there was the presenter who put up slides and talked about something completely different. She kept going round in circles repeating what she’d previously said. It was obvious that it hadn’t been rehearsed and she was making it up as she went along. The highlight was realising the chap sitting next to you had fallen asleep.

You couldn’t make up some of this. Such as the chap who had lots of charts with figures and he started by saying they might not be visible from the back of the room. He was right. So why on earth …

Telescope required at the back of the room to view information on slide

Thinking Visuals

OK, let’s stop right there.

Who said you need PowerPoint slides? There are alternatives for presentations.

I see, so ‘everyone uses PowerPoint’ do they? It’s what’s expected.

Shall we take a look at a different approach? One where we don’t just copy what others have done, for better or worse?

Firstly, ask yourself what you are trying to convey to your audience. Can it be done effectively without any visual aids? Because you can make your life a whole lot easier if you don’t have to get involved with technology. If you can focus on crafting your words to influence the audience you can stand out from the crowd.

But if you have to provide information that can’t be easily achieved with words alone, the next question is how best to transmit the information in your brain into the minds of the listeners.

The saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ may not necessarily be precisely accurate but gives a fair indication of the benefits of visual aids. Let’s analyse those two words.

Visual: Something you can see. A picture. An image. An object.

Aids: Things that help.

PowerPoint Positives (and not so positives)

Can you provide something visual that aids the understanding and subsequent recall of your key message? Is it possible to achieve your objective with PowerPoint slides? For example, charts and graphs are useful for helping understand fact and figures. They are well suited to PowerPoint if done well.

Why not read our blog post on Powerful Presentations and find out how to give a stellar performance?

And before you worry about ‘the right number of slides’, it’s complete nonsense! How can there be a right number? It should depend entirely on what information you are trying to convey and how best to achieve your objectives.

Hmm, how best to achieve your objectives. Food for thought? Whatever its merits, the problem with PowerPoint, other than it’s often used badly, is that it’s commonplace. It may not necessarily help you to make a real impact.

What if you could stand out from the crowd? Wouldn’t that make it easier to get your message across?

Stand out

Are you prepared to stand out? Perhaps you might need to be a little brave.

But wouldn’t it be worth it to give a memorable presentation? Shall we look at PowerPoint presentation alternatives?

Are you up for it? Good. Then let’s take a look at how you might make a real impact.

Same rules apply. Only use visual aids that really help you to communicate the key elements of your presentation.

Nevertheless, we must recognise that it is an increasingly visual world. Look at websites. More and more images are being used. Although sometimes it has to be admitted that the web designer’s creativity has got in the way of providing the information we’re looking for.

A New Visual World (with some old-school techniques)

Alternatives to PowerPoint include Chalk and Talk

OK, time for some visual aid alternatives to PowerPoint slides. (In no particular order.)

No.1 Chalk and Talk

The expression, ‘chalk and talk’, relates to the way school teachers would talk to their class while writing on the blackboard. This can be carried over into modern day presentations by the use of whiteboards or flipcharts.

Clearly you shouldn’t spend long with your back to the audience, but a quick sketch or diagram, possibly with one or two words, can have impact.

No.2 Video

Yes, it’s back to using technology, but could a short video clip demonstrate or illustrate a point?

Given the choice between reading instructions and watching a short video, most of us would opt for the latter. Well presented ‘How to’ videos on YouTube are so helpful, aren’t they?

No.3 Physical Objects

Could you use physical objects instead of slides? Sometimes they don’t necessarily even have to relate directly to what you’re saying; they could be a metaphor. It’s about making the message stand out and be memorable.

No.4 Demonstration

Perhaps you could demonstrate a piece of equipment rather than just talk about it.

And don’t forget the ‘here’s one I made earlier’ approach. This can be useful if demonstrating a process and you need to ‘fast forward’ some of the elements.

No.5 Audience Participation

Another way to engage with the audience is to invite one or two of them to assist you with certain tasks. In the right context, audience participation can be powerful. But do make sure your assistants are willing and not embarrassed by their roles. Perhaps a pre-meeting conversation might be advisable.

Mix ‘em up

There’s no reason why you need to stick to one type of visual aid if different aspects of your presentation can best be illustrated with different visuals. Be bold and be different and make a real impact. And remember, there are alternatives to PowerPoint slides when you are giving a presentation.



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