PowerPoint's best attributes often turn it into to a sales or marketing presentation's worst enemy.

Its linear outline format makes it easy to organize your subject matter. But for the audience, that could turn into a mind-numbing drill of slide-after-slide-after-slide. Its charting and animation features make for visually stimulating communication. However when overused, they can overwhelm and detract from the overarching message as it gets lost in the clutter of too much imagery.

PowerPoint is easy and it's everywhere. And while other formidable companies have introduced their own presentation apps, PowerPoint remains the de facto program for business communication. Everyone knows it; everyone uses it.

The best way to sell something is to let the customer talk himself into it, according to Dale Carnegie. Which means the most effective sales and marketing presentations are collaborative conversations where both sides are contributing.

Therefore, the ability to present relevant content in an interactive format, as your conversation dictates, is liberating—and incredibly powerful in convincing someone. Retention from a meeting is six-times higher (PDF) when the information is presented visually as well as orally, as opposed to the spoken word alone.

So how can you build/host an interactive presentation given PowerPoint's linear nature?

Stop relying on the technology, and start using time-tested, old-fashioned proven sales techniques. They work!

1. Encourage Dialogue

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image of AlexAnndra Ontra

AlexAnndra Ontra is a co-founder and the president of Shufflrr, an on-demand document management solution for dynamic presentations. She is the author of Presentation Management: The New Strategy for Enterprise Content.

LinkedIn: AlexAnndra Ontra