Slide-free presentations

Slide-free presentations: Kick the PowerPoint habit

Bit Famous works with businesses and organisations
to help them communicate with confidence.

By Penny Haslam

MD and Founder - Bit Famous

Penny Haslam

Slide-free presentations. Are your team stuck in a rut with mediocre PowerPoint presentations? Here are just a few of the slide-based bad habits I regularly see:

  • Too many slides
  • Too much text
  • Presenters just reading the screen
  • Presenters just looking at the screen instead of engaging the audience.

I could go on! Another big issue is people taking too much valuable time prepping for presentations because instead of taking time to think, they just open PowerPoint and start creating slides.

In my opinion, PowerPoint can be like a comfort blanket that needs to be set aside until your team can master the basics.

Why should your people think twice before using slides?

Audiences crave a more engaging and interactive presentation experience. I recommend breaking free from over-dependency on PowerPoint to explore innovative ways to captivate your audience. 

In this blog post, I'll guide you through the process of embracing slide-free (or fewer slides) presentations, I hope it'll give you some ideas to help kick the PowerPoint habit for good.

Why ditch (or sideline) PowerPoint?

PowerPoint has been the go-to presentation tool for decades but it's not always the best choice. Overreliance on slides can lead to dull, overly-textual talks. 

If you are going to use slides they should be the thing you prepare last, not first. Here are some ideas to help create more dynamic, memorable presentations.

Planning your slide-free presentation

Start by creating a structure for your talk. 

I have a FREE video tutorial that will walk you through planning a presentation: Watch my FREE presentation planner tutorial

Introduction: Who are you and why are you speaking? What valuable and useful ideas are the audience going to get from your talk? Plus, why are you passionate about it?

In the body of your presentation, you could use the what, why and how method.

  • What are we talking about?
  • Why does this matter?
  • How could things be different?

In your conclusion don't forget to sum up, have a final thought and ask for any questions.

Signposting. Don't forget to use signposting as you go along e.g.

"So that's what I'll be discussing, next let me tell you why you should care!" or, "That's why I think we should care about this issue, next how we can solve it."

Stories are memorable

Including stories or short anecdotes to illustrate your ideas is a must. Research suggests that after a talk 63% of people remember the story and just 5% remember the facts. (Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath.) Instead of relying on bullet points and charts, craft a compelling narrative that showcases your main points. Use anecdotes, real-life examples, and vivid descriptions to make your message relatable and memorable. For more on this topic: Listen to my podcast episode: What's the point of your story?

Slide-free presentations: Use open questions

Open questions are a great way to engage your audience and encourage active participation during a business presentation. You can also drop them into a presentation to prompt a nonverbal reaction from the audience. Used this way it holds attention without interrupting the flow of your talk, for example:

"Is that something most of us agree on?" (audience nods.)

"Are you following me so far? All good?"

"Do we like that idea?" (Look at the audience for non-verbal reaction.)

When using open questions in a business presentation, be sure to phrase them in a way that is short, clear and concise.

Slide-free presentations: Embrace interaction

  • Use Props and visual aids. What can you bring, use, share, show and talk about? Visual aids can help you explain complex concepts, keep your audience focused, and add an element of surprise to your presentation. Take care not to slide into a primary school show-and-tell session, if everyone has probably held or seen the prop you are planning to use there's no point in using it.
  • Polls and digital interaction. It could be as simple as a show of hands or using an interactive online polling system like
  • Audience Rapport. It's important to build rapport with your audience, so eye contact, use welcoming body language (don't stand with crossed arms), use what space you have to move and gesticulate if that feels natural. Avoid a static pose just gripping a podium!

Slide-free presentations: Rehearse your performance

A presentation is a performance, so prepare to deliver it well and with aplomb! Set up your phone to record a video of your rehearsal. On first viewing, you maybe surprised at how flat come across. Try again but give it an extra 10% energy. In passages you want the audience to get excited about, sound excited! Vary your tone, think light and shade. Focusing on your delivery, pacing, and timing. Record yourself again and watch the playback to identify areas for improvement.

Slide-free presentations: Have a positive mindset

There's no point putting in lots of work while telling yourself, "I expect this will be a disaster!"

Watch my video: How to nail your next presentation, why mindset matters.

Why you should invest in presentation skills training for your team

Our clients tell us that the teams we've trained in presentation skills have:

  • Grown in confidence
  • Are more productive
  • Have better outcomes with clients
  • See a growth in contact with customers and clients (in some cases 4x more)