PowerPoint (and the Mac version “Keynote”) can be powerful presentation tools. Visuals can add so much to teaching, plus, some research indicates that when the text of a speaker’s major points are shown onscreen, the audience retains up to 3 times more. However, I always caution inexperienced speakers to avoid presentation software at all costs. Here’s why:
Less experienced speakers spend too much time finding the right photos, and too little time actually practicing the speech. From my own experience I can get stuck in a “photo vortex” and suddenly realize that most of the day is blown searching. Finding the right photo is tedious work – because if it’s not right, it can undercut the impact of your presentation. And there’s so much more to a memorable speaker.
As a result, here’s my advice: Speakers, stop worrying about presentation software, and instead, practice, practice, practice.
Try to create the right rehearsal environment – get a podium, place your notes in front of you, and have the proper space to move around. Then literally go over your talk word for word, and do it multiple times.
I probably conducted more than 100 workshops, keynotes, and other lectures before I even started using Keynote. As a result, I learned the principles of speaking first. Now, Keynote is an “add-on” and not a crutch.
With very few exceptions, if your speech won’t be effective without a computer presentation, then it won’t be effective, period.
Until you’re good enough to be comfortable in every situation, including the ability to overcome any technical screw up, I suggest you avoid presentation software, and instead, invest your time practicing to become an amazing speaker.