Effective PowerPoint Tips

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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.

Confusing Visuals

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!

8 Responses

  1. Finally somebody says it! I am blown away by how many people do not know how to properly use PowerPoint. The absolute worst is when someone overuses animations. I just feel like it distracts from the point of the presentation and it causes people to focus too much on the special effects than the information provided. I mostly see it with younger kids/teens or people who have little experience with PowerPoint.

  2. Finally somebody says it! I am blown away by how many people do not know how to properly use PowerPoint. The absolute worst is when someone overuses animations. I just feel like it distracts from the point of the presentation and it causes people to focus too much on the special effects than the information provided. I mostly see it with younger kids/teens or people who have little experience with PowerPoint.

  3. This reminded me of a teacher I used to have that never always came unprepared, most of the times having to read his own power points to us because we couldn’t see them (font too small). It was funny and boring to listen to him (if anyone was listening). I vowed I would never bore people like him.

  4. Word crowding is a weak point I noticed a lot of people do. If you have too many words and only a set amount of time, you are left with a room of questions. You want to be clear, clean, and simple with each presentation. Too many words will just confuse your audiance, trust me!

  5. One of our employees took this course and they had nothing but great things to say about it. There PowerPoint presentation after the workshop was so effective it was night and day different. It will be a joy to watch their upcoming presentations now!

  6. All I can say is: Fewer slides, larger font. These Powerpoints that go on for an hour are killing audiences everywhere!

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