7 Trends in Public Speaking and Presentations (Part 2)

Presentation technology has changed quite a bit since the days of overhead projectors and clip art. The Public Speaker walks you through the latest trends in presentations in Part 2 of this series.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #228

I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint. It’s easy. It’s predictable. You can throw a presentation together quickly, if you need to. But should you?


In Part 1 of this two-part series on presentation and conference trends, we discussed 7 general trends in presentation style. In short, presentations are getting more casual, more focused on audience participation, and continuing the trend toward in-person relationships.

In this second part of our series, I’ll cover 7 more trends, this time focusing on conference and presentation technology. We've come a long way since projectors and clip art!

Trend #1: There’s an App for That

Conference guide, event, and presentation apps are quickly becoming common, even standard, particularly at larger conferences. More engaging than paper program guides, these apps are providing agendas, video, contact exchange, and even more customizable content right at your attendees’ fingertips.

There are even multi-event apps that let you carry over essential information and branding from one conference to the next, with attendees only needing to download one app. If you haven’t considered using one of these (or having a programmer build or tailor one for you), you should. It’s an economical, progressive way to interact with your audience who has arrived expecting to interact with you.

Trend #2: Putting the Crowd to Work

Speaking of interacting, I'm sure you've heard the news. The collective intelligence is in. Crowd sourcing through mobile audience polling devices can be used to capture opinion, generate audience analysis, and provide real-time feedback to assist in changing the course of a presentation.

I even know of one pastor who uses polling software to engage his congregation!  He told that it helps to engage the quieter members and allows them to ask questions anonymously. He simply posts the questions in his presentation, then has a separate screen set up for the responses.  He was very enthusiastic about his use of this technology.

Trend #3: Technology for Small Meetings

I mentioned in Part 1 of this series that smaller meeting rooms are requiring advances in small group technology. For example, we’re now using big screen TVs as monitors and with that, we're switching from VGA to DVI, and also to 16:9 HD (so be sure to have the right connectors with you).

As presentation groups get smaller and more intimate, personal or pocket projectors, which hold files and project onto a surface are also becoming popular. These types of presentations are often impromptu and need to remain highly flexible since your conversation partners will be driving the direction of the presentation. I often suggest a highly linked presentation that allows you to navigate as you wish—releasing you from the standard linear progression.

And using your iPad or iPhone as your clicker is trending (it's possible now, but still clunky), just as using your iPad, iPhone, or tablet as your presentation screen is already becoming standard for small group meetings. I find simply saving presentations as PDFs and moving through them without presentation software is the best way to manage this situation.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.