Top7 PowerPoint Pointers to Improve Your PresentationsBy Bill Lampton, Ph.D.
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PowerPoint is a marvelous device—with the potential for bringing the speaker great success, or with the option of making the speaker appear very dull. I remember when PowerPoint first came out, I was reluctant to use it. My reason was that I didn’t want anything between me and my audience.
Also, I didn’t want to come across like those presenters I had seen for years, who were using overhead projectors—which they read word for word, even though you had the handout they had distributed. Yet soon after I tried PowerPoint, I decided that this visual aid provided big advantages for the speaker and the audience. So here are my 7 most important Power Point guidelines and tips.
- Ask Your Host Whether to Use Power Point With This Audience
I did that recently, and since I was going to speak to a rather sophisticated business group, I assumed my host would say, “Sure, bring your PowerPoint along, and we’ll provide the projector.” Instead, she said “You’ll be better off not to bring it. Our seminar participants have seen so many boring PowerPoint presentations that they will tune you out the minute you light up the screen.” I thanked her for advice, and you can be sure I followed it.
- Never Display a Slide That Shows Only Text
Using your creativity and just a little more time, you can always find a photo (preferably one you have taken yourself), or you can locate clip art. Keep in mind that we’re a highly visible society. Listeners will pay more attention to your text when you surround it with relevant pictures or cartoons.
- Rely on PowerPoint as the Notes for Your Presentation
Glance at each line quickly, and then reconnect right away with your audience. Having another set of paper notes will just give you one more distraction. When you’re familiar enough with your material, the key words on the screen will be enough for you.
- Bring Backup Copies With You
We used to bring a duplicate show along on a CD. Now we usually use a thumb drive. As compact as these are, why not bring two extras with you? There’s no penalty for being extra safe.
- E-mail the Slide Show to Your Host Two Weeks Early
One big advantage: You won’t have to take your computer on your trip—with all the security risks that go along with travel. Also, many meeting planners prefer your using their computer, rather than having to unhook theirs and connect with yours. There are easy, economical ways to e-mail larger files, which you’re probably familiar with.
- Involve Your Audience in Discussion
Additionally, direct topic-centered interaction, just as much as you would without PowerPoint. In fact, audience participation might even be more necessary now, to keep people totally alert during a high-tech presentation.
- Make Sure Your PowerPoint Presentation is Totally Accurate
It’s one thing to make a slip of the tongue during your speech—audiences will let that pass. However, listeners will be much more critical of a misspelled word or an inaccurate statement, because you didn’t make those blunders on the spot. You had time to correct them. So just as you do with most other proof reading with top-rated documents, you will benefit from having somebody else review your slides before you go public with them.
Bill Lampton, Ph.D., "Speech Coach for Champions," helps clients speak with "poise, power, and persuasion," so they will generate "attention, agreement, and action." His top-tier client list includes Duracell, Procter and Gamble, Gillette, British Columbia Legal Management Association,and the Missouri Bar. Visit his Web site: http://tinyurl.com/otlcgz. Call him: 678-316-4300.
Article Submitted On: May 26, 2011