If There Were No PowerPoint… A Plea For Conversation and Connecting to Your Audience


Slide decks can be amazing.
When used right PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote, and all the other presentation tools can inspire, persuade, educate, mobilize and motivate. 

But there are times when slide decks aren’t the best way to communicate. For large business changes, strategy execution initiatives, and new process roll outs, PowerPoints often don't hit the mark. Recently, a lot of clients have complained about the 50-slide decks that monopolize business meetings today and consume forests worth of paper printouts. There's got to be a better way to break out of the long slog of slides and better engage customers, internal teams, and industry peers. 

So, what else can you do to communicate change besides using a PowerPoint deck? How can you communicate more successfully through change?

Truly engaging your audience often means talking less and listening more. Instead of using a slide deck as the center of all your internal communications, it should be seen as back-up to answer questions. That's why we co-created solutions with a few clients to break out of the monotony of PowerPoint and start to truly connect with their people. 

Here are just a couple examples of those solutions and the results they saw after ditching the same old PowerPoint decks:

Better understand participants with a paper survey. CTA-Final-01.svg

For the logistics division of a consumer products company, caring about customers is a core value. So at a recent industry conference, XPLANE helped them develop a simple paper survey focused on exploring some of the key challenges they face. 

The Result: They told us this was an effective way to connect with customers and build a reputation as a company that listens and cares.

 

Create a discussion around large-scale posters.

A large apparel company wanted to convince entrenched and skeptical executives that change was imperative. In lieu of a presentation, the team developed big posters with XPLANE’s help. They gathered the executives around each poster one at a time and encouraged them to make suggestions, ask questions and refine the process. 

The Result: They told us the posters were an excellent way to work through the complex information and help all the executives understand the changes and the benefits. 



Engage all participants with a large map of solutions.

A public-private working group on a project for the Department of Homeland Security didn’t want to show just another lengthy slide presentation and hand our a white paper, so they printed a 9-foot visualization of the issues and possible solutions to engage all the participants.

The Result: The huge map became the focal point of the presentations that year and for the first time, this working group was asked to continue for a second year.

What I like about each of these solutions is that each one started conversations. Instead of the one-way communication that usually falls flat, each one was different, memorable, and engaging. Most importantly, each one was designed with their specific audience in mind.

When a slide deck isn’t the right tool, start by asking how you can connect with your audience. 

Cynthia Owens is a Senior Consultant at XPLANE.