Going beyond the PowerPoint: a guide to great presentations and conversations

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PowerPoint has ruled the business world for as long as we can remember. A recent report revealed that more than 120 million people in the business and education sectors used PowerPoint to create presentations.

PowerPoint and other slideshow alternatives have been a steadfast part of the average meeting. As with email, they’ve been the way to communicate with audiences in recent years, but we’re pleased to report that times are changing.

Increasingly in modern day workplaces, the meeting room is a space of expression and creativity. Even poetry is being used to aid facilitation and participation.

There’s still nothing wrong with using slideshows as a tool to present. But as a facilitator who believes conversations are stunted by the predetermined outcomes and answers slideshows deliver, we think there’s a better way of sharing information.

The four-part (message, slides, notes, and handout) slideshow regime works for some, yet the benefits of presenting well to your people are many when exploring the following alternatives.

Key point cards

Letting the conversation flow naturally is something we strongly believe in. Yet, so many presenters and team leaders are keen to push their group in a certain direction. Bringing some order to proceedings with key point cards will ensure an engaging experience and an on-topic conversation.

Writing down your key points on index cards will guarantee vital topics are still discussed. These index cards can be called upon for a wide number of group activities. Using larger cards to highlight key points and posting them around the room is another approach that encourages movement and dialogue.

This is often used for sociometric choice, a method that measures the relationships between group members by identifying who they are or would like to be connected with in a particular situation.

Treasure hunt

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Movement is important in meetings and team building exercises. It’s been proven to increase engagement, improve brain function and boost creativity. It’s also integral to learning and growth as the BBC discussed:

“The language of learning is full of references to parts of the body outside the brain. Perhaps that’s because these phrases hint at something deeper. Researchers are discovering that learning is easier, quicker and more long-lasting if lessons involve the body as well as the mind – whether it’s gesturing with the arms or moving around a room.”

Hosting a treasure hunt will encourage movement that will make a huge difference to the learning abilities and creativity levels of attendees. Two factors that make for a more productive session.

Improv

Some of our best ideas are formed thanks to improvisation. Facilitating ‘improv’ in line with your key messages can generate ideas, keep people engaged, and share information interactively. Simply write your key messages as random lines of dialogue and watch the creativity of the people in your group flow.

PechaKucha²

If you’re not comfortable with the uncertainty of the alternatives mentioned above and wish to stick with the traditional slideshow format, utilising the PechaKucha² format can ensure greater engagement from your group.

The PechaKucha² approach entails the use of 20 slides, each of which is shown for precisely 20 seconds. This method results in a slideshow that is exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds in length to guarantee a fast-paced yet easy to absorb presentation.