Some people are so hung up on PowerPoint for giving presentations that they forget that in the olden days before thumb drives, projectors, and laptops there was such a thing as an engaging public speaker. I often reference the PowerPoint Gettysburg Address as a shining example of how PowerPoint can often bring down even the most brilliant speech. PowerPoint is meant to be a tool that helps to elevate a presentation; it should never be used as the entire presentation.
Mike Consol is a California-based coach who specializes in helping professionals to become better communicators. His recent blog post, Adding the “Touch Factor” to Your PowerPoint Presentation, addresses moving away from strictly PowerPoint-based presentations and engaging the senses. For example, for a presentation about a durable and comfortable new fabric that is going to enhance the clothing industry, the presenter should put a swatch of the material in audience members’ hands so that they can feel it for themselves.
The head of sales at The Country Hen, a Central Massachusetts egg farm, takes a similar approach on sales calls to potential distributors. Rather than rely on a PowerPoint deck that extolls the virtues of his organically farmed, Omega 3-rich eggs, he lets the product sell itself. During the meeting, he takes out a portable cookstove, frying pan, and a case of eggs and starts cooking. He hands a plate of scrambled eggs to each person in the meeting so that everyone can see, smell, touch, and (most importantly) taste the eggs. After everyone has eaten, he closes the sale.
It’s easy to slip into bad habits, communicating your entire message with a PowerPoint slide deck. But if you want your presentations to have more impact, a little extra effort can yield memorable results.