By Carole Howell
More often than not, I’ve stared at a screen while a presenter reads to me. It’s frustrating, and almost insulting. Presentations like these are neither provocative nor persuasive, and before the fourth slide, your audience will be checking their phones for messages, watching the clock, and wondering what’s for lunch.
PowerPoint is certainly is a wonderful improvement over slides and transparencies, but if used poorly, it can be both terrible and ineffective.
Presenters who use PowerPoint to make their point are the ones who keep the following tips in mind:
- Your PowerPoint is not the presentation – you are. Your slides should support your talking points, not the other way around.
- Keep it simple. Too many words on the page, too much animation, and too many fancy graphics create a distraction. Make sure your slide is easy to read and your graphics are simple.
- Import your own graphics rather than using the PowerPoint graphics. If appropriate, use a humorous slide to give your audience a break.
- Too many numbers are blinding. A spreadsheet of facts and figures on a page will surely make your audience’s eyes glaze over.
- Your slides are an outline tool to support your point. Don’t insult your audience by reading each slide.
- Time your remarks to give your audience an opportunity to read the screen before you begin your comments. Leave the slide up long enough for them to absorb the information.
- Plan ahead. Practice before you present and learn how to operate the remote before you hit the stage.
- A blank screen or a simple graphic without data can turn the attention back to you. Use a plain screen when you want to make a serious point.
- Distribute any handouts after your presentation. You don’t want your audience to skip to the conclusion before you begin.
- Streamline your message. Edit your presentation with a heavy hand several times and remove any information that doesn’t add to your final conclusion.
About Carole Howell:
Carole Howell is an independent writer and editor with 30 years of corporate experience. Visit her website at www.walkerbranchwrites.com.