3 Purpose-Focused Alternatives to PPT

Decorative: Clip art of a piece of paper and a pencil


"Here Are 3 Smarter Alternatives [to PPT]" (post) suggests that "PowerPoint -- when used as designed -- reduces attention, understanding, and ... retention" and, instead, offers "different [and workable] meeting tools built around" specific purposes: decision/discussions (briefing document), training sessions (interactive experiences), and public addresses (speech).

  • "These [alternate] communications methods force you to hone and polish your thoughts into something that [is] meaningful and complete--and thereby [are] more respectful of your audience's [or class's] time and energy."

    1. To Discuss/Decide, "Use a Briefing Document."

    a. "Hone your thoughts and simplify your messages into a short, hard-copy document."

    • "Hand out paper copies at the beginning of the meeting and have everyone read the document." [Posting it on D2L also makes it available to everyone.] 
    • "Then open the floor for discussion."

    b. Benefits

    • "Forces presenters to communicate with complete thoughts rather than mere outlines."
    • "Makes certain everyone is literally on the same page during the ensuing discussion."
    • "Reduces the overall time spent in a meeting by 50 to 80 percent."
    • "Provides the basis for an edited email describing the meeting [or class] and its results."

    c. Quick Tip

    • "The ideal briefing document is a single page."

    2. To Instruct/Train, "Create Interactive Experiences."

    a. "[A]llo[w] your audience to participate in the learning process." 

    • Use "traditional classroom materials--workbooks, easel pads, whiteboards, etc. ... to get your audience involved and not turn them into passive viewers."

    • Have them "take notes with pen and paper, because the action of physically writing something alters your brain structure so that you remember what you've learned."

    b. Quick tip 

    • "Start your course by asking the audience what they expect to learn, record those expectations on an easel pad, hang the pages around the room, and use them as touchstones as you work through the material."

    3. To Entertain/Inspire, "Give a Speech."

    a. "[C]reate positive emotions in your audience."

    • "You want your audience to connect with you -- and you want to connect with your audience."
    • "Anything you put on a screen behind you (other than projection of you) is a distraction from that rapport-building process."
    • "[D]istracting the audience with visual information that's not you is counterproductive."

    b. Quick Tip

    • "[F]ind role models, like TED Talks ... that have gotten huge traffic on YouTube."
    • "[N]otice ... they use graphics very sparingly, and never in the standard business-presentation bullet-point format."
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