In the previous article, we used scientific methodology to establish that PowerPoint now outnumbers homo sapiens, has become sentient and self-perpetuating, and will soon rise up and trigger the Apocalypse. Happily, there are alternatives.
If you’re brave enough to present without slides (and there are at least 7 reasons why you should – see previous article), there are useful structures available to relieve you of the need for them. These structures are designed to keep you on track and make you look professional.
Let’s start with an important orienting principle:
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE FACTS. IT’S ABOUT THE MESSAGE.
There is a world of difference between Fact and Message. Most truly effective presentations focus on Message. Most bad ones are bogged down by reams of Facts. Facts are only useful insofar as they help you to support and deliver your message. Beyond that, chuck them. Having the information is only half of your job. Making it come alive is the balance.
With that in mind, here are some options for structures that replace slides:
10 Structures to use in Place of Slides:
Deliver One Strong Message Only
Simplify your message so that there is no need for a complex series of explanatory visuals. Short, sharp and powerful, just like the Gettysburg Address; a 2 minute and 45 second address which helped to determine the course of an entire nation.
2. Deliver three key points only
Three is a magical number. For unfathomable reasons, which psychiatrists recognise but can’t fully explain, human communication is effective when grouped in three’s.
We sometimes refer to Churchill saying, “Blood, sweat and tears.” In reality, he said, “I have nothing to offer my country but blood, sweat, toil and tears.” That’s a set of four. History, however, has decided that three is better, and ‘corrected’ his phrase.
Sets of threes work very well in multiple applications. It can be three main points, three illustrating stories, or three quick examples. It could be three repetitive phrases, like:
“We shall rise, we shall stand, we shall fight!”
Using the Rule of Three is not only elegant, but it simplifies the quantity of information you are required to remember. If you remember three major points, or three major stories, you remember your entire presentation.