Why I Don’t Use Slides or PowerPoint
By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta
I’m often asked why I don’t use slides in my keynote presentations. (Most people just hug me when they find out I’m PowerPoint free!). Here’s my thought: It’s not about the slides. I don’t have a personal grudge against PowerPoint or anything – or even those who use it. It’s just not ME. If you’ve ever seen me speak – or know me personally, one thing will come across probably in the first three minutes: I engage immediately with my audiences. I’m direct. And I absolutely LOVE playing off my audiences reactions to what I say. So much so that I don’t want anything distracting us from connecting to each other right from the get-go and holding on to that precious connection until the very end.
I want to be hands-on with them. To interact with them. To have them know that I’m totally approachable and open and they can trust that I’m there for them. To help them. Understand them. Encourage them. Teach them and respond to them. And for them to know that we are in it together.
Watch most speakers while they are using slides. The audience is looking at the screen. And far too often the speaker is also looking at the screen. Psychologically that’s a lot of energy and personal connection that’s just lost. Wasted on a screen rather than on people. Pretty indicative of our world right now, right? Texting pictures of the fireworks rather than enjoying them. I thoroughly enjoy my audience. More than any slideshow on earth.
Not to mention my audiences tell me what to say. Yep you heard that right. I have never planned out exactly what my message will be. (Which really drives my left-brained meeting planners crazy.). I do have a very flexible outline in my head. Then I leave it up to my audience to direct me. I can sense when they are right there with me and excited about adopting what I’m teaching into their lives and careers. I see when the light bulbs go off and they GET IT. That’s when it gets REALLY fun. To me, if I were just paying attention to what the next slide was, or reading from a screen, or worried about a teleprompter – I’d miss those moments. I’d lose that connection. And worst of all – so would the audience.
I can also intuitively sense when they need more. When they aren’t so sure. Or don’t have quite enough information to go back and make the necessary, significant changes they really want to make. So? Without slides to dictate my every move I can immediately adapt to THEIR needs. Move in a direction that addresses THEIR concerns. I believe it is the audience that should be directing how they want to be taught–not me! The truth is, more often than not, slides are rarely for the audience’s benefit – they are a way for a speaker to stay on track.
So what will you get from me instead of a slide every 17 seconds? First and foremost you and your audience will get my ever-present, undivided attention! Pretty cool huh? Second, I will talk WITH your audience–not TO them or AT them. Third, wait till you see what a speaker can do who’s not handcuffed to a screen. I can go into your audience. Engage. Have conversations with them. Bring them on stage. Role play. React. Be spontaneous. And, here’s a novel idea – help them have fun!
My audience members and clients tell me they love that I fully and completely recovered my addiction to PowerPoint. They love that I look them in the eyes and walk among the aisles, and talk to them just like I was a good friend who tells it like it is and tells them what they need to hear. One that gets them and truly makes them part of their event.
That my friends, is why FOR ME — slides are OUT and getting to see, share, engage and experience the people in my audience is IN. So? If you’ve got a team or organization who’s ready for that kind of profound experience? Give me a call or send me a message today. I’d love to hear from you and share how I can help take your group to the next level – without a single slide to get in between us!