Let me start out by stating that PowerPoint is not the greatest speech writing tool ever invented. Although I can forgive anyone who’s mistakenly believed it was. Let’s face it; most speakers are PowerPoint dependent – reading every word from each slide of their presentation. If we’re lucky they might adlib a few sentences, but for the most part they will not dare deviate from their carefully scripted presentation.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely averse to seeing a speaker use notes (although I bet many times the same speaker could give an adequate presentation by relying on their memory rather than a pre-written script). What I do have an issue with is seeing a speaker utilise PowerPoint as a visual aid and a speech writing tool at the same time. If a speaker is going to write his (or her) entire speech in PowerPoint and then display those same slides for the audience to see (and read!) – What benefit is the speaker providing? Why not email the presentation to everyone and allow them the opportunity to get something more valuable done!
Your audiences don’t want to see (or need to see) your entire speech illuminated on a screen in a dimly lit room. All they want is the key points (not sentences, paragraphs, or essays) to reinforce and remind them of your message. By keeping to key points you’ll be rewarded with a keenly interested audience who will listen to you and your presentation. If you want to use notes or a full script then go ahead – just don’t display it for everyone to see and read! Remember keep PowerPoint for your Power Points only.