Using PowerPoint Effectively
Who hasn’t attended a meeting or presentation where the speaker overused their PowerPoint Presentation and created a slow death for their audience?
You know; the one that had 125 slides and went through them in 20 minutes. Or the presenter that had to read each slide because the font was too small.
Believe it or not, power points do have a set of best practices that if followed will position you as a PowerPoint expert. You’ll begin using your PowerPoint to add value to your presentation rather than being the presentation.
Here are some common PowerPoint mistakes and how to avoid them:
Too Many Slides
I’m often asked how many slides I should have for a PowerPoint presentation. There is no absolute when it comes to that question. Some presentations don’t need any slides, while others could easily use one per minute.
As a rule of thumb, a one hour presentation probably should have no more than 15 slides. That’s a slide every 4 minutes or so. Remember that your PowerPoint is only there to support your key points. Ask yourself if you really need each slide; if the answer is no, lose the slide!
Too Many Words
An easy way to avoid this common mistake is to never use font smaller than 30. Don’t ever write out complete sentences on your slides. Try to think of the PowerPoint as your index cards or notes.
You should know your topic well enough not to have to read the slide show to your audience. Besides; if you read your presentation to the audience, they’ll think you’re a moron and they’ll stop listening to you and read ahead.
Pointless Animations and Weird Sounds
Don’t! Enough said…
Not Visually Stimulating
As I mentioned earlier, your slides should serve to reinforce your messages. Visuals like simple graphs, charts and pictures are a great way to do just that. I’m not saying that you should go crazy with graphics in your PowerPoint.
When putting your slide show together, be aware of the balance between words and images. Go through your PowerPoint presentation and if you find slides that are heavy on text, ask yourself if there’s a better way to make the same point through the use of an image or graphic.
It’s important to remember that when utilizing visuals, less is more. Try to keep graphics simple. People in the back row should be able to see everything on your slides without having to strain. Re-read the section on font size; no smaller than 30.
Keep it Simple
In summary; keep things simple and stay on point. Know your presentation so well that you never need to read your own slide show. You’ll be a better presenter and your audience will thank you for it. Combine the PowerPoint presentation with a well thought out message and the audience just might even invite you back!