Do you struggle with presentations? Give me 10 minutes of your time and I’ll show you how to make a good PowerPoint presentation.
The Secret of How to Make Good PowerPoint Presentations
Have you ever heard the expression “Death by PowerPoint?”
Some of you may have experienced the feeling if you’ve been stuck in a long, uninspired PowerPoint presentation.
But PowerPoint, when used properly, is a terrific program that enhances your talk and keeps your audience focused and learning with slides that effectively use color, text, graphs and charts.
I was in management training for years, usually training the trainers. PowerPoint can be a wonderful teaching tool for employee development and an effective sales tool to help build your business. It’s worth understanding what makes a really good presentation.
Here are a few tips to make your next PowerPoint presentation as strong as possible and memorable in a good way.
10 Tips on What Makes a Good PowerPoint Presentation
- Keep it short. If you have any control, keep your presentation under an hour. Beyond that period people cannot stay focused. However, if you must speak for an hour (or longer) make sure you encourage audience participation. Questions not only break up the monotony of listening to one person, interacting with the audience makes for a much more dynamic talk.
- Fewer slides are better. PowerPoint slides should enhance your talk, not replace it. More than 25 slides is probably too much. Use a slide only for the most important pieces of information.
- Display bits of info. per slide. I use bullets and no more than 2-3 per slide. Less information per slide will make your presentation more powerful, memorable – and probably more legible. Your audience should be listening to you, not trying to read everything you’ve written on a tiny slide.
- Don’t read the slides. Your audience can read. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and it makes you look unprofessional. When you bring up a slide, elaborate on the point you’re making. Don’t just repeat it. You will lose your audience, I promise.
- Don’t get too fancy. Go easy on the animation in PowerPoint. You can create star bursts, violently expanding and shrinking fonts – even birds to bring in your sentences. Most of these visuals are distracting, corny and can make the audience seasick. Keep it simple and you’ll keep your audience.
- Consider using the “appear” animation. One effect in PowerPoint I think can be effective is “appear.” When you have two important points on one slide, this feature allows you to show one point at a time. You can control your audience’s attention and the effect works well.
- Use graphics and color. Interesting visuals, like charts and graphs, enhance a presentation, as does color. But the graphs have to be easy-to-follow and the colors should be conservative – not hot pink and lime green. Remember not to put too much information on each graph – and always explain the graph/chart to make sure your audience is with you. Ask for questions.
- Show enthusiasm. Delivering a presentation with little voice inflection or enthusiasm is deadly. Remember that your presentation is a performance in many ways. If you’re flat and dull you’ll lose your audience. Enthusiasm is infectious. If you’re enthusiastic, your audience will pay more attention.
- Create legible slides. Make sure the type size on your slides is large enough to be easily read by your audience. And use a simple typeface like Times Roman, Helvetica or Ariel – not Old English or Wingdings. If your audience is struggling to read your slides they’re not listening to you.
- Practice. This is the most important thing you can do to ensure an effective presentation. Print the slides, six to a page, to act as your guide. Add a few notes to those pages, but don’t memorize a script – it will make you come across as stiff. Practice until you can move smoothly from one slide to another. During your presentation ask questions of the audience. It gives you time to regroup and makes for a much more interesting presentation.
This seems like a lot of information to remember, but it all fits together and is easy to implement. And making these changes will make such a difference to your audience. They will be more engaged; they will learn more – and just as important, you will be perceived as the professional you are.
Good luck and contact me if you need some practice. I not only work with individuals but companies who want to further develop their employees or their sales force.
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