Good question, and the answer is “Not always”. TED talks are a good example of people delivering complex messages without the support of slides. But:
- In order to give that naked talk, you need to understand your presentation insight-out, you need to live and breathe your presentation. In the early phase of your learning curve, slides will give you a good backbone to hold on to. You start by presenting your slides, you end by telling your story. A lot of practice can of course make you jump straight to the end of this process.
- Certain types of information have to be conveyed visually. Examples are graphs with data, the latest quarterly results, or an image of a surgical procedure.
- In many cases the live presentation is actually not the main purpose of why we design slides, often we send out material ahead of our discussion. It is hard to avoid slides, unless you have the confidence to email a short recorded video of you explaining your idea (without slides).