Kudos to Microsoft for finally adding an interactive feature to PowerPoint through the Zoom plugin. Zoom lets presenters jump around their presentation, rather than lock them into a rigid, linear slide show. Prezi has built quite a following with their interactive presentations. And Shufflrr’s broadcast mode allows presenters to share content from all over their slide library, not just the one PowerPoint. I’ve been a big proponent of “Going Interactive” for years. Here’s why.
First of all, interactive mode compensates against PowerPoint’s weaknesses:
Too many slides, too many PowerPoint presentations. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, most of us in regular business are not nearly as charismatic as a late night talk show host. And our material isn’t nearly as fun. They get to joke about Kim and Kanye’s rift with Taylor Swift. And we, in B-t-B are stuck presenting complicated products and services. So naturally, we rely on PowerPoint slides to explain and simplify our product and to build our story, one slide at a time. Seems logical. But since PowerPoint has grown into the default medium for business communications, with an estimated 30Million presentations given each day, we are all inundated. We live in a world of slide show clutter.
Linear presentations are monotonous. We’ve all been imprisoned in this meeting. Slide after slide after slide after slide, of presenter droning on and on and on…uh….and on. Just makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a very sharp pencil.
Interactive presentations encourage engagement:
Empowers the audience. With interactive presentation management, the slides can actually follow the conversation instead of forcing an order. The presenter can pull up slides as a direct result of someone’s comment or question. From an audience perspective, that is very empowering. It gives them a sense of control over the meeting — over how their valuable time is spent. It also encourages participation.
More Productive Meetings. The additional feedback from the audience, combined with the ability to reference any topic, not just the ones you included in your linear list, will help you address any issue during the meeting, whether or not you had prepared for it. It reduces the amount of follow-up required.
Elevates the presenter. When you answer your customers’ issues on demand, you are perceived as smarter, and more sincere. You are showing your customers that you are genuinely concerned with their problems, and know how to solve them. In so doing, you elevate yourself from salesman to partner. A smart, and trusted partner.
If you don’t want feedback and discussion, then save yourself and your customers a whole lot of time by emailing your deck, and letting them read it on their own. However, good sales people want feedback, even if it’s negative. The sooner you get that feedback, the better you can adjust to your customers’ needs. So encourage participation, go interactive, and get to close sooner.