Many public speaking coaches encourage speakers and presenters to move away from PowerPoint presentations, and I too would persuade people to spend more time on their speaking skills than working on a beautiful collection of PowerPoint slides.
For the most part, poor PowerPoint presentations have ruled the corporate world for many years. Rather than being a useful tool used appropriately it has become the overused tool that has created swaths of poor speakers.
In truth, PowerPoint can be a very valuable and useful tool when delivering presentations when used well.
We have collated 4 important Do’s for preparing your PowerPoint presentations to help you make the most of what can be a powerful tool.
Use Images more than text
This can take many formats, but in whatever format, you need to ensure quality. In our modern world there are so many very capable graphics designers as well as countless high quality, easy to use editing programmes. You will need to make sure the images/ graphs/ infographics you use are of a very high quality.
Images are very important, as they will save you many words both on your screen content and that you may have to actually say. The saying goes, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. This is very true, using carefully selected images can save a lot of text on the screen.
Your picture should be used as a theme to each section of the presentation. Having pictures is better than having words on the screen that will be read and re-read by the audience while you speak.
Death by PowerPoint!!
How many slides should you use? Some people tell horror stories of seeing hundreds of slides during relatively short periods of time.
What should your limit be? Having a slide per minute ratio can help you to keep the number of slides to an appropriate level. Anywhere between 1-2 and 1-5 are acceptable ratios. There should be a minimum of one slide for every two minutes of speech. A good speaker who is competent in their subject matter should be able to speak for a good 5mins without notes on a topic. This should bring your slide per minute ratio to 1-5. If you can increase it further then great.
The longer you can talk without having to change slides builds confidence. Not just your own confidence, but the confidence of your listeners in you, your ability to speak and your knowledge and capabilities in your job.
Take – Away
Professional and concise Handout
Have a hand out ready as a take-away for after your presentation. This can be where you add a little of the key content from the presentation. This would include some statistics, figures, quotes or other text of importance that you are keen for your audience to remember. Information that you covered in your presentation but did not have on screen.
Hopefully these important points stood out in your delivery, by using techniques like varying pitch, pace, power and pausing to make the points stand out and easily picked up by your audience. The detail is sometimes hard to remember, even if it was well highlighted in your delivery, so having this in a succinct easy to read and informative take-away will help to underscore the main points of your presentation.
Most people today rely on their social media for guidance. Sad but true! So, on each page having a memorable handle or hashtag from your own social media accounts will help the audience remember your company, and easily look it up, maybe even during the presentation. If you have a professional looking Twitter/ LinkedIn/ Instagram feed this too will add to your credibility.
Finally – Having refined your PowerPoint…… are you confident in your ability to speak without notes in the form of text on the projector behind you? Practice, Practice, Practice your presentation so that it feels natural speaking to your audience without turning around all the time. This may mean breaking a longstanding habit, but doing these few things will help you to give a Powerful Powerpoint presentation.
For extra ideas on what you can include in your presentations instead of PowerPoint slides Join us on our ‘The Presentation Tool Kit’ Day course. If you want to develop your skills to help main points stand out, then our ‘Principles of Public Speaking’ day course is a great way to expand your skills.