A good resolution for this year? Put PowerPoint in the closet! Unless you know how to use it perfectly … But as it is too often the case, forget the « slides » and wake up speaker who is in each of us . In front of PowerPoint we are no longer true speakers, but very often simple readers . The human crushes against the technology, forget the digital, and the presentations are always less alive, each time less vibrant …
To thrill your audience, you have to vibrate yourself! And dare to give himself up completely, without artifice, without subterfuge, in a direct, free and authentic speech. Because we’re in 2013 , so here are 13 reasons to put PowerPoint aside this year:
1 – Because everyone expects it. Indeed, no more meetings seem to be possible without PowerPoint. Who should present a project should do it through his series of slides. At first PowerPoint was a real novelty and allowed to be creative. Connect your usb key, find the right file, turn down the lights and scroll: it became routine. If you want to impress your audience, surprise them: announce straight away that you do not have PowerPoint (or any other system that requires a projection)! Someone who shows up without visual support, it has the merit of intriguing: how will he go about it? What does he have to say? Come … without anything. But give yourself whole. Mark your difference, affirm your personality, be where you are not expected.
2 – Because there are always connection problems, or at least very often. Although most meeting rooms are equipped with a projection system, many others are not. Should he bring his computer? Is there an extension cord? Why my usb key does not work? Was it necessary to go through a white station? Why this file does not open, is not displayed, is not supported …? Not to mention all the bugs and power cuts that may occur unexpectedly.
3 – Because you have to plunge the room into the dark if everyone wants to see. As the previous point, it requires an efficient control of its environment: can all windows close? Will not it be too hot (if it’s summer, for example)? Are the shutters or curtains opaque enough? In spite of all these precautions, it is enough for a small ray of light to filter through to impede the display and reading of the public, the latter does not fail to complain … Now, it should be the speaker to adapt to its environment, and not the environment to be modified just to use PowePoint.
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4 – Because you will distract from the public eye. First of all, setting up the PowerPoint and the room will require your full attention – whereas you should focus exclusively on your audience: it is important to establish a strong visual contact with the public from the first seconds of an intervention. Then, once the PowerPoint is properly launched and the room sufficiently plunged into darkness, these elements will continue to capture your attention: check that everything works fine, manipulate the controls to scroll the slides, watch the slides … Ideally, you have to know your presentation by heart, a bit like a weather presenter and never turn your head towards the slides but always maintain eye contact with the public !
5 – Because the public will look away from you. And, to be honest, maybe that’s what some people are looking for unconsciously. By making the PowerPoint the essential of a presentation, the public focuses on the slides and does not look at us anymore. The look is captured by the light, the projection occupies the central part of the main wall of the room and we stay on the side, in the darkness, a little hidden … So we refuse the true role of speaker that is our responsibility, whereas one should put oneself on the stage.
6 – Because you always read your notes too much. Completing written notes is the mark of talented speakers. In the absence of notes written on paper, the temptation is great to use PowerPoint as notes, and to rest on slide after slide. But no one is fooled! And everyone sees that the speaker reads his slides, that he is unable to take off, that he advances at their own pace and allows himself little digressions or no: he is a prisoner of the slides, and offers not to his listeners the free speech they expect. I have already seen a teacher project a PowerPoint on which his speech was fully written, the comma … even the (false) hesitations! The public ended up laughing at it, but not in a good way. PowerPoint turned speakers into readers. We must relearn to do without any notes and any support, and simply speak and put ourselves on the stage, occupy the space not by the projection of video images but by the power of his voice and the movements of his body !
7 – Because the public is waiting to download the PowerPoint. strong> If you distribute documents during your intervention, you will see that everyone will focus on them and start reading them, turning pages, and In short, listen with much less attention to what you are saying. To avoid this, wait until the end for distribution! But if you start right away with a PowerPoint presenting precisely each of your parts and sub-parts of your presentation, the question will quickly arise: « We can take the copy on key usb? So, the public releases his attention, is more distracted, less involved, with the serene certainty that he can anyway recover everything in the end on usb key, and take the time once home to return to the points important and look in detail what deserves to be (which it will almost never …). By not using PowerPoint, you somehow force the audience to focus on what you say, you favor a much better attention from them.
8 – Because the slides are poorly built. strong> I’m talking about experience: to date, I’ve attended – or rather I’ve experienced – just over a thousand PowerPoint presentations (It’s not really that much, it’s about 3 presentations a day for a year …). On this thousand PowerPoint presentations, only TWO really caught my attention and also pleased the entire audience. All the others were really bad and cumulated all the classic mistakes with PowerPoint: slides overloaded with information, unreadable, incomprehensible patterns, nerdy animations … To avoid a flop with PowerPoint, do not use any PowerPoint at all! Or take the time to master the intricacies of this art in its own right with such artists as on SimpleSlide by example! You can also find some great tips in Garr Reynolds’ book Zen Presentation em> and Nancy Duart’s Slide: ology em >.
9 – Because slides shape our thinking. strong> By wanting to get all our ideas into well-organized slides, we end up destroying some of them and reshaping what’s left. In the same way that standard plans in high school and university (in two or three parts and as many sub-parts) conditioned our expression and our reflection, PowerPoint shapes a way of thinking of which we end up being prisoners. Some ideas do not hold our attention anymore simply because we do not see how to integrate them into certain slides. PowerPoint wreaks havoc, read about it Franck Frommer’s book: PowerPoint Thinking – Investigating this software that makes stupid em>. See also Stop the PowerPoint! Re-learn to think and present em> by Nicolas Berreti.
10 – Because there is no more surprise. strong> The succession of images, which should be dynamic, often becomes boring and boring. What characterizes the great speeches is the speaker’s power over his audience. He’s the one leading the dance. It is he who sets the benchmarks, sets the tone, sets the pace. Nobody looks at his watch and everyone is drawn into a kind of distortion of time: a good speech always seems shorter than it really lasted! Like a good movie or a play. Nobody sees the time pass. While with PowerPoint, we can see the number of slides, and how much we are. The tired public begins to count down each slide, just waiting for the end, like a schoolboy haggardly looking feverishly following the second hand of the clock on the wall of the class …
11 – Because audiences become passive viewers strong>, whereas they should be active and responsive listeners. For all the reasons enumerated in the preceding points, it is clear that the public (as much as the speaker himself!) Is much less active during a PowerPoint presentation than during a real speech, where the speaker composes depending on the reactions of the audience, which does not hesitate to react, applaud, laugh or scream. The true speaker takes his liberties with the text, improvises, becomes « cowardly », makes his presentation more lively, and the audience vibrates all the more. With PowerPoint, the speaker hides behind the projection of the slides, it is crushed, smothered, and consequently the audience waits patiently, passively, pure receiver of a screen that is imposed on him without any interactivity.
12 – Because the power of words can still overwhelm the shock of images! strong> Yes, your word can have more effect than all the photos you have selected. Rather than projecting them, why not try to describe them? Find words to get everyone to imagine them? The impact will be increased tenfold, because everyone will make your presentation a personal experience, by putting his own, awakening the magic of the childlike spirit: that of imagination. The imagination is often stronger than the images. Imagination is a form of action, whereas an image, once given, only imposes a form of acceptation.
13 – Because it’s not really useful. strong> Basically, if you really know your topic, are convinced of the value of talking about it, have good examples, good anecdotes and good ideas, what good PowerPoint? Think about what PowerPoint can really bring, and what you can bring yourself without PowerPoint. Humans still prevail over technology, and your strength of conviction, your energy, and the expression of your own life are all pulverizing computer, images, and digital effects. Be yourself, be alive, refuse PowerPoint conformity and speak freely: deep down, the audience is waiting for that! And he will be grateful to you.