One way that I stand out from most presenters in my field is that I do not use PowerPoint during my speeches. Interestingly, the trend I’ve begun to notice among many speakers is a shift away from using the program, which according to an AV company owner I once spoke, has “given bad speakers permission to walk on stage.”
The primary reason I don’t use PowerPoint or other visual aids is that I feel it takes away from the message and overall presentation of my speech, which in turn hampers my ability to connect with my audience. The use of PowerPoint often results in the speaker looking at a screen (instead of the audience) in a darkened room, while addressing people who may or may not be interested in the speech.
Obviously if you are lecturing about something technological that requires the use of visual aids (eg. Medical lectures or graph heavy speeches), then PowerPoint may be appropriate to use. However, the goal of my speeches is predominantly to connect with my audience on a personal level, and for those types of speeches, one often loses more than they gain from using PowerPoint.
If your goal is to form a connection with your audience, I highly recommend staying away from PowerPoint. You will gain a lot more from a well-lit, personable presentation that includes enthusiastic speaking and interaction with the audience than from a visual presentation. If you feel that visual aids are indispensible, try including a workbook or pamphlet for audience members. Make certain that it is detailed enough that allows them to follow along and understand your presentation, but also simple enough to ensure that your audience members don’t get distracted from your speech.