Giving a presentation is a difficult task on its own
You want to bring your point across and inform, entertain and impress the listeners.
I can’t help you with your speaking or content (however, there are many tips online: for a perfect presentation, what to avoid, how to speak more fluently etc.) – I want to focus on the presentation slides.
If everything else is sub-optimal, you can still win some points by impressing on the screen.
(I call this the “Michael-Bay-principle”.)
This is an introductory article about the problems you won’t have to worry about anymore if you read my upcoming follow-up article.
The Problems with PowerPoint
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using PowerPoint for your slides, but there are some disadvantages — and you probably have experienced some of them at least once:
- You (and every contributor) as well as the computer you are using while giving the speech need PowerPoint.
- If it’s not the same version, things can look messy, fonts and effects can go missing. Many computers (especially the ones used for presentations) still use old Windows and Office software because upgrades have a price and require man-hours.
- PowerPoint is a proprietary software you need to pay for and install on a suitable machine before using it.
- You can always go the safe route — and it is one I strongly recommend doing as a backup plan: export your PowerPoint slides to a PDF file. Most computers have a PDF reader and you can still click through your slides if everything else fails to work.
But what if you want to build the slide content instead of throwing it at your audience at once? Or you really want those effects? And how do you play videos within a PDF?
- Embedding or linking pictures, videos and other files is a time-robbing task and almost all of the time things get messed up if you want to change something afterwards.
- Last but not least: Everybody can use PowerPoint. People have grown accustomed to it and know how to use it. There are themes and styles built in, but it seems — besides the default — only the ugly ones are popular. PowerPoint lets you customize the style of your slides but most people either don’t bother or don’t know how to do it, because it’s not easy.
Be daring — try something new!
The world is full of software you can use to make slides — good ones and bad ones, simple and complex. Some solutions have a price and need to be installed, others are free to use. I have tried many — always used something different whenever I was about to give a presentation: PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Drive Presentation, Photoshop, SlideRocket etc.
For your next seminar or product presentation or any other public speaking event you might consider using something entirely different, but something that everybody already uses on a daily basis:
In the next article I will show you how to impress with a Web Browser.