Office Rocker Darren Strange shares a list of ideas to put an end to death by PowerPoint. Yes... you've probably read or heard many of these ideas before but they are well worth repeating. Some are blindingly obvious and others may make you rethink your strategy for the next presentation you need to deliver. To give you a taste, here are two ideas Darren offers that I use regularly and know work extremely well:
Sounds obvious but break the flow with anecdotes, silly stories even. If they illustrate something, it will help people to remember the point and revealing a bit about yourself means they feel they are getting to know a person rather than being forced like a Borg unit to receive a download of information. Demos work well but don't forget to prep them. What can seem straightforward at your desk will go wrong often once you are off the network or at a different screen resolution or something. Do your prep though and a demo, like a picture, is worth a thousand words. Telling a story in a demo can work as well although I've found in the UK it can be perceived as a bit cheesy. It works well in the US but doesn't always work so well in Europe.
Think before about what people might ask. I often decide to leave material out but have a slide there to answer it in Q&A if someone raises it. A good tip here is to print out your deck in handout mode for yourself with the slide numbers. Then if you type "13" and hit enter, PowerPoint will display slide 13 without you having to press escape, find the slide and then restart the presentation. It also looks very slick.
I mentioned in my last post that I spoke to a graduate class night. I decided, given the size of the group (about 10 people) to not use the PowerPoint deck I had hastily assembled after learning that the net connection in the classroom was down. As soon as I said, "I'm not going to use PowerPoint tonight" spontaneous applause erupted. ;^)
I ended up telling stories, engaging individuals in the class in sharing their experiences, and cracking a couple of jokes. I think everyone enjoyed that format a lot. The only way that can work is to have your material down pat and feel comfortable actually talking to... not at... the people in the room.