Another PowerPoint Presentation?
Nov 09, 2012
"Just put together a quick PowerPoint for it."
How many times have we heard this advice when preparing for a presentation? By now, PowerPoint should be included in thesauruses as a synonym for presentation. But despite being overused, sometimes it really is the only choice you have when presenting. When given no other options, there are always some basic but powerful ways to make your PowerPoint presentations better. Guy Kawasaki covers some of these in a great video available here, but I've included some other pointers as well:
- Don't read to the audience - This is my biggest pet peeve when listening to a presentation. I can read what's on your slides. They should serve as a cue for you to elaborate on the topic, not as the script for your presentation. Highlight main points, trust that I can read them, and use your slides as note cards to keep you on track.
- Keep your slides brief - Don't fill a slide with text. Slides crowded with text are difficult to read and will draw your audience's attention away from what they should be paying attention to - you. If you use bullet points, which I prefer, limit yourself to four or five at most.
- Use large text - Depending on how large your audience is, it may be difficult to read your slides from the back of the room. 28- to 32-point font is recommended. This will help you keep your slides brief as well.
- Don't be afraid to use different, interesting, or creative formats - All slides don't have to follow the typical Title-Subheading-Bullet Points format. In fact, varying the style of your slides can keep the audience more engaged. Using something unique like a single word or a picture with no text will enable your audience to refocus on what you're saying instead of what's on the slide.
- Don't get caught up in using effects - There are plenty of choices for slide transition effects, sounds, and graphics to spice up your slides, but resist the urge to overuse them. Simple fades in and out of slides are fine, but some transitions are distracting and can look unprofessional. Also, along with sounds and graphics, they can draw attention away from your actual presentation. The content of your presentation, not the effects, should be the audience's focus.
- Don't read to the audience - I'm including this one twice because, yes, it annoys me that much.
Whether you like it or not, giving a presentation with PowerPoint is probably going to be unavoidable. So as long as you're going to use it at some point, it's worth learning a few simple tips to help make the presentation more effective and enjoyable for the audience.
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