Would Banning PowerPoint Improve Your Presentations?

We’ve all sat through those presentations where someone bored us to death with slide after slide of text, dated images or graphs crammed with information.

That’s why the phrase “Death by PowerPoint” was invented.

Many organisations have responded to this by banning the use of PowerPoint in any presentations. In some cases, they allow other programmes, such as Prezi, but some ban the use of visuals altogether.

Are they right to do this?

I can certainly sympathise. Most speakers I see use PowerPoint very badly. Their main crimes are:

  • using slides as a crutch for themselves, in effect writing out their presentation on PowerPoint and using it as their notes
  • writing PowerPoint slides which they intend to print off as handouts
  • hiding behind the slides so the presentation becomes little more than a voiceover
  • using the basic templates in PowerPoint to produce endless bullet point lists or repetitive slides with a heading and a tiny picture

This may be partly because of lack of time, or lack of expertise or just plain laziness.

Whatever the reason, the result is that thousands of people have to endure dreadful presentations and the whole dreary PowerPoint experience continues.

So I can see why some places might be tempted to just ban the whole thing. And I would be happy if one result of this was to force speakers to concentrate on keeping their audience’s attention by having great content and developing their delivery skills.

I’m all for developing a much higher standard of oratory amongst presenters!

But there are some problems with banning slides altogether.

Powerful visual aids can play a huge part in getting across key points with impact and helping an audience to listen, learn and remember.

Used well, visuals can:

  • grab, and keep, attention
  • explain a point more clearly than words
  • form a strong emotional connection between the audience and the subject matter
  • leave a lasting impression which fixes the point in the audience’s long term memory
  • introduce humour in a relevant and appropriate way

Of course, the key point is that they do have to be used well. The way most slides are used, they do none of these things.

But that’s not the fault of the medium itself – it’s not really PowerPoint’s fault, it’s the fault of the speakers who use it.

And I have to say, it’s not just PowerPoint, I’ve seen people using other packages just as badly.

So perhaps banning PowerPoint isn’t the answer. Because banning visual aids cuts off what could be a massive asset for a presenter and a massive benefit for the audience.

The answer is to give people the training they need to use PowerPoint the way it should be used – so presenters can speak with more impact and audiences can be spared the “death by a thousand slides” which they have to endure at the moment.

Lingerie is the Best Wrapping When You Are the Present

When you are giving yourself as the present to the man in your life, you simply can not skimp on the wrapping.

What you wrap yourself in will determine how excited he is about getting to what is inside, you! Women have been giving themselves as gifts to the men they love for as long as anyone can remember because it is the one gift that definitely keeps on giving like nothing else can.

No matter how you wrap yourself, he will always be excited about it when the gift is yourself.

Some women just do not fully understand the power of sexy lingerie. It can turn you into a different person every time you put on something new. You can be soft and seductive in one outfit and hot and sexy in another.

What you put on should all depend on what type of romantic encounter you wish to have. Sometimes there might not even be any lovemaking involved, but that does not mean that you can not still look and feel appealing for yourself as well as him. A sleek pair of silky pajamas might be just the thing when you are just going to lounge around watching television or reading a book together.

Picking lingerie that suits them well can be tricky for some women. Some things, like a short teddy or camisole, might look good on some females, while others might be much more comfortable in a long silky gown of some kind. It all depends on what you are comfortable showing off. Experimentation is also important in order to keep a fresh face on things. Never get stuck in purchasing one particular style. Just because you might think a certain piece of lingerie will not look good on you, does not mean that it will not.

Try new styles sometimes. You can wear those smaller pieces of lingerie like a corset or bustier if you know how to shop for the right one. Corsets come in shorter and long line styles. Long line means that it will cover a bit more torso if that is what you want. If you like something skimpy, but are a little uncomfortable walking around in it, then get a sheer wrap to go over it. You are likely to feel better about the revealing things if you trick yourself into thinking you are not revealing as much as you are.

A sheer or silky outer wrapper will just be one more layer of wrapping he will have to remove before he gets to the real present!

How to Add Humor to a Presentation

Can you, and should you, attempt to add humor to a presentation? This is one of those topics which really divides opinion, with those who say yes arguing it brings a needed lightness of touch to an otherwise serious topic, whilst those who say no arguing it detracts from the message, and worse, clan be punter-productive if and when jokes go wrong. This article will help you decide for yourself.

The short answer to this question is… It depends. It depends whether you can do humor or not. I believe it is less about whether the topic merits humor, or the client will accept it, and far more about how you plan to include humour in your presentation.

Most of us have experience of a joke not working. Whether us, or someone else, the silence that follows when a joke fails to “land” can be a deafening experience. Often though a joke working or not working is more down to how it is used in the context of the presentation. There also exists in some people a morbid worry about whether or not a joke is appropriate in a working situation..

Here are some pointers. First regarding where you use humor. Many speakers are of the view that they should “start with a joke”. I think this is a dangerous idea, unless you really do know what you are doing with making people laugh. I often use very gentle jokes early on in a presentation because it is something I am very comfortable with, and because I am guaging the level and reactions of the audience. The problem with trying out your one funny line at the beginning is that no one, not you and not the audience, really knows what to expect from you. If the joke doesn’t work you maybe lose a little confidence, which then doesn’t help your presentation. If you have ever seen someone tell a joke early on and get zero response, before nervously continuing, you will know what I mean.

Instead I like to use humor throughout the presentation, safe in the knowledge that not all jokes work. What is very funny one day seems not to work another day. I have certain “lines” I use in key moments which cuts down the number of times that I fail to get a laugh, because they a well tested moments. As one builds a number of these so confidence to try other funny lines increases because if something new doesn’t work, there are always well proven lines.

I have referred to using humor as “lines” rather than jokes, and this may need explaining. If you try and tell jokes of the “here’s a good one…. What do you get if you cross….” you set yourself up, and getting it wrong is so easy. Instead I want to use punchlines… There is a moment that people realise it’s a joke… Following on from what sounds like a it’s part of the presentation… Which gives several advantages;

The line is not expected, so the laugh tends to be more natural as people “discover” it.
It subtly makes people want to listen more, since your presentation is not as predictable
Crucially… If a line isn’t perceived as funny there is less build up, so less crash down for you.

This means you have to be able to deliver the line correctly. You will have seen the person who can’t wait to tell you the funny joke, which turns out to be not remotely funny. Not what we want to emulate. Instead, the line is “dropped in” casually. One needs to be aware it is there, so if an audience reacts, and we get lots of laughter, great we can pause to allow the laugh, a breathing space and a sip of water. If not, then no damage is done.

All of the above assumes that we agree humor is a good choice in a business presentation. Of course in some situations humor will not be appropriate, but the fact is it will work in many situations, and I have made powerful use of humor in pitch presentations, training sessions, conferences, motivational events and more.

Humor is really powerful since it helps bring a human perspective to the presentation. As people, at work, in many situations we find things funny. Not to allow that simply because it is a presentation does no favours.

Humor also changes the pace of what is happening. It can work astoundingly well immediately following or preceding very serious content. This is a dramatic technique which has been used throughout history…building up tension which is then released with laughter… Or having people in a state of mind when they are relaxed, before presenting them with serious information.

A laugher state is highly conducive to learning. Think about all the things you learnt before you went to school… And now remember how that learning took place… Laughing, smiling, jokes and fun. We can tap into that natural state by allowing humor in our presentations.

Humor helps bring passion to a session. It’s natural and helps people – you included – to be themselves.

Finally well placed self deprecating humor is very good at showing the speaker in a good light. The person who is confident to not only stand and speak in front of others, but also find humor in the situation, is perceived as a a powerful speaker.

Some really quick tips include;

Know the joke, rehearse it like the rest of the presentation, to avoid that getting it wrong thing we’ve all done.
Avoid “in jokes”… Tell a joke that everyone can understand. Many get this wrong and it never works.
Deliver your punchlines. Get a laugh and thats great. If not, continue.
Self-deprecating humor is really powerful.
Humor that comes from your organisations reality is best… “borrowing” comedians jokes is risky, since their style is probably not yours.

Finally remember that humor does not have to be roaring laughs. The fact remains that this is a business presentation. If your first attempts to use humor receive only an occasional smile, thats fine. Too many presentations are dry as dust, so if you can get a couple of people smiling, you’re ahead of the game.