Do Presenters Need PowerPoint to Connect With an Audience?

woman  presenting using face microphone


Is PowerPoint the first thing you turn to when you are called on to present?

Simon Sinek’s inspirational TED talk ‘How great leaders inspire action’,is a wonderful example of how effective public speakers and presenters can be without using PowerPoint.

With almost 15 milion YouTube hits, it’s easy to see why Simon has been described as a, “visionary thinker with a rare intellect”.

Many of the brilliant TED presenters are able to capture and maintain the undivided attention of their audience without the use of PowerPoint.

Simon Sinek is different

At Mindful Presenter we often share (Technology, Education and Design) videos in our presentation training workshops.

It helps delegates to evaluate what works well (and doesn’t work so well) in terms of style, structure and approach.

In this video you will see that there is so much we can all learn from ditching the slide deck.

Simon Sinek speaks with passion, authority and impact

Most presenters understand the importance of crafting a great opening to capture our audience’s attention.

Simon provides an exemplary model for us to follow.

He immediately gets his audience to work by challenging them with questions to reflect on.

Not one, but five:

‘How do you explain why things don’t go the way we assume?’

‘How do you explain how others achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions?’

‘Why is Apple so innovative?’

Why is it that Martin Luther King led the civil rights movement?

‘Why is it that the Wright brothers were able to figure out control powered manned flight when there were certainly other teams that were better qualified and better funded?’

Now we are all in thinking mode and really curious to know the answers.

He tells us that 3½ years ago he made a discovery which profoundly changed his view of the way the world worked and the way in which he operated in it.

Still no PowerPoint!

Then he pauses……………and shares his discovery.

Wthout the use of any slides, he then confidently animates the answer to his questions with a simple flip chart.

Drawing the ‘Golden Circle’ with three rings, he writes, WHY, HOW, WHAT.

Now it’s time to own the flip chart

Remember, he began his presentation by asking his audience 5 powerful questions.

Now he asks another 5.

These are arguably equal if not of more importance than the first 5.

Notice how as he asks each question, he touches the flip chart to show it’s his.

He is in control and still doesn’t need PowerPoint to ask:

‘What’s your purpose?’

‘What’s your belief?’

‘What’s your cause?’

‘Why does your organisation exist?’

‘Why do you get out of bed in the morning and why should anyone care?’

Great presenters never just ‘tell’ their audience, they ‘show’ them

They bring the information they are sharing to life.

Simon does this using the global brand famous for its innovative culture, Apple.

If you really want to get your key message across it’s also not enough to share it once, you have to repeat it.

“People don’t by what you do they buy why you do it”

He said this twice with emphasis, repeating it throughout the presentation.

Suddenly, without warning his microphone packs up.

What does he do?

He immediately swaps it for another; without fuss, mention or complaint.


Just when he has his audience totally engaged and connected, he takes his presentation to another level .

He mentions, The law of diffusion of innovation.

This sounds like he is about to get really technical and new age but he doesn’t. He turns to his trusted flip chart and spells it out for us so that we all get it.

He doesn’t stop there

He breathes further life into his point by using Martin Luther King as an example.

A full 18 minutes of brilliance and then the moment of truth.

The close

“There are leaders and there are those who lead – leaders hold a position of power or authority but those who lead inspire us. We follow those we lead not because we have to but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them but for ourselves and it’s those who start with why who have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.”

The essence of his entire presentation is to encourage leaders to start with WHY, instead of WHAT.

He makes his point and it’s the very same point he closes on.

He achieves his goal without a single PowerPoint slide in sight

If you do decide to use PowerPoint for your next presentation, please follow these ’21 Powerful PowerPoint Tips you really need to know.’

I will leave you to think about how you would feel if you were sitting in the audience as a leader.

Enjoy the video!

Whilst this article is about presenting without PowerPoint, a really good public speaking coach will help you to present confidently and impactfully with or without PowerPoint.

If you need help presenting:

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

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