Hiding Behind The Slides: Who Can Put the Point In Powerpoint?

I like Powerpoint. It’s intuitive, manageable and impressive.

I don’t like how people use slides, and abuse them, during meetings and pitches.

Honestly, have you ever sat through an elongated business slide show and felt your eyes go droopy as your senses were dulled into a near comatose state?

Yes, we’ve all been there, done that.

OK. So now you need to be the presenter and have some slides you want to use.
What do you need to be aware of?

  • Try not to use more than 10 slides. The audience will usually not pay attention after that.
  • Obviously, get to the room early and do a quick run through.
  • Make sure that your computer’s “desktop” that gets projected onto the screen before the first slide does not depict anything embarrassing (e.g. photo of you in a compromising position or a folder marked “Porn Collection).
  • Look at and review each slide in advance-does the visual really support and enhance your message?
  • Animation and squiggles are cute–but are they distracting?
  • Avoid turning the lights all the way down during your presentation. It will allow people to close their eyes or focus on things other than you.
  • Don’t turn your back to the audience while you present-it’s rude and directs the audience to merely read the bare words on the screen.
  • Try to say something different than what’s written in the slide. Regurgitation is a big bore.
  • Have lengthier materials available after the presentation.
  • Be fully prepared to deliver your full presentation without slides (in the rare event that the equipment breaks down).
  • Recognize that giving all members of your audience copies of your slides, as a handout, in advance, is also a distractor (your listeners will be looking down, jumping ahead to your upcoming “surprise” slides and now have a nice canvass upon which to doodle).

  • Today’s Tip: Slides should be a thoughtful supplement to an already stimulating presentation. Use them sparingly and don’t make them the center of your speech. You’re too good a speaker to share applause with a screen.

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