Presenting with PowerPoint
Millions of people give business presentations every year and it can’t be denied that a considerable amount of people still choose to use PowerPoint as a presentation tool. While there are plenty of other applications and presentation tools available, PowerPoint will always remain a popular default presentation application. Like any other tool out there, PowerPoint can still be highly effective if used properly. Here are a few tips for delivering a dynamic presentation using PowerPoint.
Use it as a Supplement
PowerPoint was designed as a convenient way to display information that would support the speaker and supplement the presentation. The slides were never meant to be the “star of the show.” People come to a presentation to hear You, not to read your slides. Don’t lose your audience by reading to them from slides. You will quickly lose their attention, not to mention your own credibility. When used for the intended purpose, PowerPoint can be a great way to help audience’s follow along and to give a smooth, streamlined presentation.
Keep it Simple
Oftentimes presenters get carried away with PowerPoint and they feel the need to fill every inch of space on the slide. This is a recipe for disaster. Too many words and graphics can actually detract from your presentation and confuse the audience. In reality, the less clutter you have on your slides, the more compelling your visual message becomes.
Limit Text and Bullet Points
We have all experienced sitting through a slideshow presentation that was riddled with bullet points and text. Nothing will bore your audience faster than bullet point after bullet point. The slides are simply meant to support the narration of the speaker, not to act as a script. The best PowerPoints are those that actually contain very little text. The majority of the information that is presented should come from the speaker instead of the slides.
Limit Transitions and Animation
It’s important to note that this heading does not say to eliminate transitions and animation, but simply to limit them. Some animation and transitions can be a good thing, but they do not need to be on every slide. Avoid slow transitions that will bore the audience if they have to endure them slide after slide. Similarly, avoid overly flashy animation that can distract audiences. If you choose to use a transition or animation of some sort, keep it quick, simple, and professional, such as a subtle swipe to the right.
Use High-Quality Graphics
Visual images can definitely enhance your presentation and make it more interesting. However, it is important to stick to high quality graphics such as photographs, stock photography, or other online imagery. Avoid using clip art and other cartoon graphics. These cartoony graphics have been seen time and time again and they can actually undermine the professionalism of the presenter.
Make Sure Your Text and Graphics are Visible
It might look large enough on your laptop screen, but when you project your PowerPoint in front of a large audience, you have to be sure your font and graphics are visible from a distance. Also, stick to basic fonts and avoid overly fancy or script fonts.
Keep Your Charts Simple
Charts can be a great way to visually display information, but they must be easy to understand. Too much information or complicated graphs can be confusing to the audience. Don’t try to pack too much data into your chart.
While it is good to have a consistent visual theme throughout the presentation, most of the templates in PowerPoint have already been seen by your audience countless times. Your presentation will lack originality and audiences will lose interest. Your audience wants to see a unique presentation rather than the same cookie-cutter slideshows they have seen dozens of times before. Instead, make your own background templates that are customized to your presentation.