We all know bad PowerPoint when we see it. But how do you deliver a better PowerPoint presentation? Preferably one that doesn't send your audience to sleep.
Here are ten ways to ensure that your message resonates with your audience.
1) What Is Your Core Message?
Start by thinking about what you want to say and what you want your audience to think or do afterwards. Do this before you even open PowerPoint to avoid your presentation being restricted by PowerPoint’s structure. Put your ideas down on Post-it notes first – that’s right put your notebook away and go old school – and get a sense of how the story flows. Working physically before you get virtual helps to stimulate the creative part of your mind and generate ideas. Once you’ve got a great storyline down then, and only then, go to PowerPoint.
Remember audiences recall the things they hear first and last – so make sure you have a strong open and close that underpin your story.
2) Practice Makes Perfect
Nothing helps you deliver a relaxed, spontaneous sounding presentation like having done it several times before. Your confidence will be up and you’ll sound like a natural speaker. But don’t overdo it. Once you’ve run through a few times and it’s right, then just relax and be confident that you’ll do well once you’re up there talking. If you’re worried about being nervous, try and get a chance, before you start, to stand where you’ll be speaking on stage, or in a boardroom. Imagine yourself confidently presenting the story you’ve honed through rehearsal.
3) Personalise Your Presentation
Ever sat through a “canned presentation”? Nothing makes an audience feel cheated like knowing that the presentation isn’t really aimed at them. If you give the same presentation to different groups, be sure and delete any slides that don’t apply. There’s nothing worse than skipping through slides mumbling that they aren’t relevant.
4) Appearances Count
All headers should be in the same font face and size, and in the same position. Templates help with this. But don’t be afraid to break out occasionally with an image that takes up the entire screen. A picture tells a thousand words. Make sure you use a decent picture – sites like Dreamstime are a great source of millions of low cost images that will really add some style to your presentation.
5) Do a Quick Reconnaissance of the Room
If you’re presenting to a small group in front of a projector, make sure you aren’t walking in front of part of the projector’s beam. Like an actor working to your mark, step out where you can and can’t walk.
If you’re on stage at a conference, or being filmed, make sure you remove your name badge – it reflects too much light and distracts from the clean lines of your suit.
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