How do Presenters avoid ‘Death by PowerPoint’?

Sometimes the standard way of doing things is the best. It becomes standard because it serves every need. But in other occasions it becomes staid and clichéd.

There are an estimated 1.2 billion users of Microsoft PowerPoint in the world, so it is little wonder that it feels like every PowerPoint presentation is the same as the last one you saw. Management and motivational images have become so well used that they no longer mean anything to the viewer than the twin emotions they evoke – boredom (from having seen it so many times before) and mirth (from wondering why the person who put this together feels that it will make a difference.)

With many areas of business life have moving into the 21st Century but it feels like the reliable old PowerPoint has been left behind. With animated videos and short selling animations becoming the norm on even the most basic of websites it can feel that you are looking at something antiquated, something that hasn’t quite kept up.

One of the main problems is the fact that PowerPoint brings up the same results no matter which of their 1.2 billion users makes the search. If you search for common terms such as “teamwork” or “motivation” or “success” then you will get common results, as you would expect. But the savvy PowerPoint user will be able to make image searches in a more imaginative way and produce more imaginative presentations.

When used as background tool for a quality presenter then the boredom level of the actual PowerPoint part of the presentation can fade away into the distance. The person at the front of the room should be the centre of attention and the focus of the audience. If you are a weak presenter (and some of us just are) then the quality that the PowerPoint presentation doesn’t mean as much to your audience as it would if it was just there for illustration. If you rely on it to do the work for you then it will more than likely let you down. As your presentation skills get better, your need for a visual prop diminishes.

Microsoft has actually acknowledged the fact that PowerPoint has gone stale (in its own way) by adding new features such as Morph and Designer to make it more interactive and look more up to date.

What are the alternatives? How else can I produce what I need? What will add some much needed spice to my presentations?

There are many alternatives that can be easily found online and many of these are free to use. Keynote, Slides, Prezi, SlideRocket, Emaze and Slidedog are some of the options, plus many more that a typical search for ‘presentation software’ will be delivered via Google.

Take a look at the different ways of making this work. Consider how you want your work to come across and make a decision whether PowerPoint still does what you want it to do. Whatever your choice, try to maintain the philosophy that your presentation is only the backdrop to your topic.

Have you found a formula to prevent ‘Death by PowerPoint’? Maybe you have found an alternative tool – that never fails to wow your audience. We would love to hear your tips and recommendations in the comments below.

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