Dare to Go Slideless: 3 Reasons to Leave the Deck Behind

Submitted by: Josh Erwin

When it comes to presentations, PowerPoint® is still the king. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that when you go to a meeting, you’ll be forced to sit through a slide or twenty expounding on the next big idea in your organization. When done right, a slide deck can engage your audience, visually drive home your points and bring an entire presentation together.

But let’s face it, most slides are boring; 32% of audience member have fallen asleep during a boring presentation, and 21% would rather do their taxes!

It’s time to shake things up. For your next presentation, I challenge you to go slideless. Here are three reasons to leave the deck behind and discover the freedom and confidence you can gain with a well-prepared, deck-free presentation.

Slides are a Crutch

Did you ever have one of those dull teachers in school that simply read straight from the book? That’s what you sound like when you rely too heavily on your slides when giving a preso: dull, detached and disengaged. Slides have become our crutch, something we know we can rely on to avoid having to thoroughly prepare for a talk.

Leave the crutch behind and focus on the real star of the show: you!

Slides Make You Dumb

Did you know that scientific studies have shown that our memories work differently in the Google Age? When information is readily available, there’s no need to internalize it. We’ve started memorizing where things are, as opposed to what things are.

Relying on PowerPoint can have the same impact. Why bother internalizing those market stats or important metrics trends when you can just read off that snazzy pie chart you made that no one’s going to look at?

Steve Jobs, Apple’s legendary innovator, once said “People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.” Forget the pie charts, actively engage the data and internalize the information.  You’ll gain valuable industry or organizational knowledge and you just might impress a few audience members by rattling off some statistics from memory.

Slidelessness = Confidence

You know that cliché dream where you find yourself in front of a conference room full of people only to realize you’re in your underwear? That’s what ditching the slides might feel like at first; you’ll feel vulnerable and exposed. But even though it may be scary, it’s an incredible confidence-boosting exercise. When you can really speak to a topic, answer questions and deflect objections, you’ll gain the admiration of your colleagues and a little extra spring in your step.