How To Avoid Death By Powerpoint – (while still using it)

Like most people, I have been subjected to death by PowerPoint over the years, one memorable occasion was when a one hour Health and Safety presentation overran by 40 minutes and consisted of 75 slides with full of closely spaced text.

Don’t get me wrong, I love PowerPoint and use it a lot.  I grew up in the era of overhead projectors so anything that moved me on from flip frames and dusty lenses had to be a vast improvement.

The problem is, many presenters get sucked into the technology and end up hiding behind it.

So here are my top 10 tips to avoid sending people to sleep and making your presentation instantly forgettable.

  1. Use photos not clip art and credit the photographer where possible.  Full screen photos are really effective, catch people’s attention and provide a connection with what you are saying to help people remember..
  2. Use a remote control to avoid breaking eye contact during the presentation.
  3. Position the laptop or tablet where you can see it while still looking at the audience to avoid looking at the projection screen snd breaking eye contact.
  4. Use PowerPoint like a flip chart – build up diagrams, models and flow charts as you speak.  This increases your credibility and allows you to control the speed of information.  If the slide is full of information people will read that rather than listen to you.
  5. Switch the screen off to  hide the slide once you have made the point – keep people’s focus on you not the screen. Most remote controls have a blackout switch.  If they don’t presssing ‘B’ on the keyboard will turn the screen black and pressing ‘W’ will turn it white.
  6. Avoid noisy and distracting animations – keep transitions simple.
  7. Use as little information on slides as possible.  When people are reading, they’re not listening to you.
  8. Keep to no more than 2 fonts or text colours and keep words to a minimum.  Your audience will read whatever is on the screen and distract themselves from the main event – you.  Worse than that, you will read what’s on the screen out loud.
  9. Blue and white lower case letters are the easiest to read – think about motorway signs that have to be read quickly and easily.
  10. Be flexible –  keying a number and ‘Enter’ will take you to that numbered slide.  Print out a copy of the slides as handouts, number them and change the odrer as necessary, or refer back to the right slide as you answer questions

Powerpoint is a great tool – but that is all it is.  It helps you to get your message across more effectively and should be the supporting medium, not the main feature.

To find out more information on how to leverage your presentation visit fulcrum presenting



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