About that PowerPoint Presentation!
PowerPoint presentations are ubiquitous! How many of us have sat through excruciatingly boring, not to mention outright bad, presentations? Slept through any presentations? Walked out of a presentation thinking it was a complete waste of time? So what can you do to avoid similar predicaments when creating your own PowerPoint presentation? Read on for some helpful tips on ways to create a dynamic and professional presentation that is easy to understand and conveys your message effectively.
Before you start planning your presentation, know your audience! Are you doing a presentation to a group of seniors about the benefits of exercise? Or, are you trying to get support for your proposal from your bosses and other company bigwigs? Or, are you simply trying to motivate your team to excel in a project that's close to your heart? Whether you are trying to promote a cause or sell a product, the key element is to know your audience so that you can tailor your content and your presentation accordingly.
Needless to say, content rules! So plan your content well. Whatever it is you are trying to propose, write it in a clear, concise and lucid manner. Make sure that the material you want on your slides communicates your ideas plainly, in a clear and organized way. Avoid jargon as much as possible. If your material has no substance, go back to the drawing board and think it through for no amount of design skills or animation wizardry is going to captivate or convince your audience about the issue on hand!
Some experts suggest putting all your information on a Word document and then transferring the data to PowerPoint. Putting all your information on a Word document is an easy way to sort your thoughts and ideas, and clarify the point you are trying to make. Then you can display only the key points on your slides thus emphasizing the central theme or the purpose of your presentation. Of course, if what you have to say is very clear in your mind then you can simply start with PowerPoint. As PowerPoint has the Outline view you can easily type your outline right there and do the necessary editing or, use the Slide Sorter view to organize the order of the slides thus ensuring that your ideas are stated coherently and have the proper sequence that the audience can follow.
And while on the subject of adding content to your slides, please remember to include only the key points that emphasize and reinforce your central point and avoid making your presentation unnecessary long. Then, as a presenter, you can discuss and elaborate on those key points, verbally. Avoid including every single detail - not only does it make your slide appear packed with small, unreadable text, it also makes your job as a presenter both boring and redundant since the audience can read the information for themselves.
Now for the fun part: adding design to your PowerPoint slides. Since you have access to a whole range of colors, fonts, images, animations and background designs, it's understandable to get carried away. While you don't want to create a boring PowerPoint presentation with plain text and no graphics or animations, do try to limit the bells and whistles so that you don't overwhelm your audience and lessen the impact of your message. Be consistent in your choice of fonts, colors and animations throughout your presentation. Make sure that the type and size of your font is readable, even by the audience in the last row.
Know your material well so that you can explain your points clearly and answer questions like an expert. Rehearse until you know what you want to say for each bullet point on your slides, and know exactly what is going to appear in the next slide. PowerPoint has the tools that can help you Rehearse Timings and Record Narration which are easy to use.
So here are a few questions to ask yourself when you want to create a meaningful PowerPoint presentation: Who is your audience? What is the point you are trying to make? Is the content emphasizing your central theme? While a pertinent chart or an appropriate image can be very effective in conveying your information, are you sure the images you have used are serving a purpose and contributing to the points you want to make? The animations and the slide transitions in your presentation may make you look like the PowerPoint guru but are they making your audience dizzy? In which case, it will certainly detract from the content of your presentation.
In conclusion, keep in mind the KISS principle! The design principle expressed by Kelly Johnson: Keep it simple stupid, or keep it short and simple!