Even the best of speakers can ruin a presentation with a pointless PowerPoint, so take the time to learn this user friendly programme and improve your next presentation.
1. Templates can be the enemy. Avoid those with unnecessary shapes or patterns for ‘effect’. These graphics are probably irrelevant to your presentation and can be quite distracting. Create your own template; keep it clean and simple with fonts that people can read!
2. Avoid transitions and animations. Don’t distract your audience from your message. Subtle animations to draw attention to a figure or statement can work well however don’t let your PowerPoint be more about the animations than the content.
3. The fewer words, the better. Every slide should have the minimum necessary words and focuson one concept.... Never have paragraphs of text or read directly off the screen. Your PowerPoint should highlight your key points (with images to emphasise) and anchor your presentation.
4. The fewer slides the better. As a rule, limit your presentation to 1 slide per minute or you’ll be racing the clock. You can break this rule if your presentation has lots of one liners or image slides - but be aware too many of these in quick succession could confuse your audience.
5. Think about your audience. Bullets work really well if you’re presenting to a military-based operation. Bullets on their own probably don’t engage children or visual people. The way to display content will depend on your audience. Bullets, less text, more text, big text, bright colours, conservative colours, graphs, charts, animations, photos, videos, music etc...
6. Mix it up. Keep the audience awake with variety. Break up heavy content by injecting humour (where appropriate) or inspiration, images, graphs, music, video clips and/or quotes.
7. Share the presentation. You can supply your audience with simplified ‘handouts’ (and contact details) OR supply your slides after the presentation. This way the audience won’t be distracted flicking through the notes instead of listening to you.
8. Test the visibility of your PowerPoint from a distance. Make sure your screen is a suitable size for the room. You must test the fonts and colours from the back of the room you're presenting in. Things always look different on your computer screen!
Next time you’re creating an important presentation spare a thought for your audience by making it useful and visually engaging.