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Don't Let Reliance on PowerPoint Cripple your Business
by Sandra Zimmer - June 2006
Houston Business Journal, vol 3 no. 3, week of May 26 – June 1, 2006
PowerPoint, for many business presenters, has gone from useful tool to crippling crutch, actually becoming a deficit instead of an asset.
The trouble is not PowerPoint itself, but the fact that most people overuse it to the extent that they do not engage their audience and are not even minimally persuasive. Those that believe that PowerPoint is their presentation, and that after creating the slides all that’s left to be done is to run the program and let it sell (or not sell) potential customers, are missing a powerful point (near-pun intended).
The real presentation consists of the presenter, the presenter’s ideas and the presenter’s unique experience – not the slides. The audience can read the slides by themselves, but the presenter is something they can’t get from the projector. If the presenter’s back is all they see the majority of the time, and if everyone gets bogged down in endless lists of bullet points, there’s little room for true connection and communication to happen.
Those who feel they can benefit by taming PowerPoint can restore this program to its rightful place – as a valuable tool, yes, but not the star of the show – by following a few suggestions:
A presenter stands a much better chance of winning his pitch by polishing his speaking skills, learning how to be persuasive and honing the ability to capture and hold the attention of an audience without the crutch of PowerPoint.
The most effective way to be persuasive and interesting is to tell stories that illustrate points. Stories will connect the presenter with listeners, compel them to pay attention and allow them to feel the message.
In short, stories sell. The more technical the presentation content, the more stories are needed to sell the ideas.
In the end, a presentation is all about persuasion, and persuasion happens only when people stop wondering what the presenter is going to take from them and start to open themselves to what the presenter can potentially offer them.
No software program has yet been invented that is more persuasive than a real live person.
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