Preparing to give a big speech is different when you decide not to use PowerPoint, an option that’s becoming a lot more popular as I discussed in my last post.
On the plus side, you don’t have to spend huge amounts of time prepping the slides, trying to get the images and words just right. So that’s a big time savings. Plus it’s time you can use to focus on what you’re actually trying to say and how you’re going to say it.
I’ve delivered thousands of talks and workshops without relying on PPT. And I can say without question that the way you make it work is by structuring what you have to say very clearly.
PPT lets you pretty much ignore structure. You can just throw the slides up without bothering all that much about their order. This is one of the reasons PPT doesn’t stick in your audience’s memory. It functions just fine without making logical sense. And even if the people in your audience don’t interpret it that way, their brains take note and often tune out.
Having a strong and logical structure helps you in two important ways.
First, it helps you deliver your message with more intimacy and power.
A clear structure makes it easier for you to remember what you have to say and know where you’re going. This is important because you don’t want to spend your time staring down at your notes trying to figure out what you’re supposed to say next. You want to keep your head up and connect with your audience. People listening perceive this as conversational, which enables them to feel they’re in a relationship with you.
Second, having a strong structure sets peoples’ minds at ease.
They don’t have to feel nervous on your behalf. Because they sense you know where you’re going, they can settle down and listen to what you have to say. They sense that you’re in control so you can relax.
To sum up: going without PPT is a skill. It requires time spent on structure and time spent going over your speech. I think it’s worth it. Again, I’ll repeat what Lucy Kellaway said about PPT: it’s makes complex ideas too simple and simple ideas too complex.