Does Your Speech Take People to Power Point Hell?

Think about the last speech you heard. Chances are, you were subjected to ‘PowerPoint hell’… the seemingly endless stream of slides that most presenters read during a speech.

To make matter worse, you may have been sitting in the dark, after eating a filling meal. This may have left you praying for a fire alarm or some other distraction to get you out of the room.

Why do so many speakers use PowerPoint?

Because in the 1990’s, it was a novelty, a fun new tool to capture the attention of an audience. It replaced the overhead projector because it had more capability. In the last two decades, it’s became an expected part of every presentation. 

It’s lost much of its impact because almost everyone is using it – usually poorly. As Hall of Fame speaker Patricia Fripp has said, “audiences will forgive everything except boring.” And PowerPoint has become boring.

How a Brain Expert Changed My Mind

For years, I’ve been a huge proponent of not using Power Point. If you want to stand out during your How Power Point Can Aid Your Speechnext speech, you can do that by simply speaking. This places more emphasis on your speaking and storytelling skills – you can be more persuasive and powerful. If for no other reason, you’ll no longer have competition on stage.

What do I mean by ‘competition’? Each time you stand in front of an audience and use PowerPoint, you are competing with it for the attention of the audience. Each audience member has to decide whether to focus on you or the slides at the front of the room. Guess who usually wins that one?

Am I suggesting you never use PowerPoint?

No. My opinion has changed after listening to the current president of the National Speakers Association, John Molidor, PhD and CSP. Dr. Molidor’s background is in psychiatry and psychology. He has studied the brain and the impact of visual presentations. 

Two ideas he shared that helped change my perspective:

  1. The brain loves narrative coupled with pictures. These images help the brain quickly understand the point you’re trying to make. The key here is images. Words, numbers, data and statistics confuse and wear out the brain. These can quickly disconnect the audience from you and your message.
  1. There are specific techniques to slide creations that increase your impact:
      • Pictures and images should be on the left side of the screen; verbiage, if any should be on the right side
      • Use LARGE font – minimum 72 font. This limits what you can place on the slide. And that’s the point.
      • Background colors like white, light blue and light green work best to not tax the brain
      • Use words that trigger emotion or energy

Dr. Molidor is a terrific presenter who demonstrates what he teaches. I recommend you read or watch his presentations. He convinced me that, properly used, Power Point can add to and bring your message to life.

Do you want to stand out from the crowd?

Be different?

Leave a lasting impression?

Enhance your chances of being remembered long after you leave the stage.

Take center stage.

Make eye-to-eye contact with the audience.

Speak with passion and make a heart-to-heart connection.

Use your PowerPoint strategically to support your message. You’ll improve your chances of standing out from the crowd evert time you stand before an audience.

What experiences have you had with this concept (feel free to leave comments below)?

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How to Create Audience Interest in Your Speech With Power Point ultima modifica: 2010-10-25T18:23:20-04:00 da Michael Davis

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