by: Ellen Egan
Death by PowerPoint. It’s a term we have all heard before, representing the excruciating feeling of being bored to death by a too-long presentation, delivered in monotone and at its foundations is a set of PowerPoint slides containing too much text, too many ideas and too much clip art.
PowerPoint was designed as a presentation software that would aid the presenter by providing an easy way to create slides and move away from the dreadful overhead transparencies. However, people who lacked the skill to present and the desire to create an interesting presentation began to use PowerPoint as a crutch, a flashy way to distract from the fact that they didn’t know or care enough about their topic to make an effective presentation.
Let’s talk about how to use PowerPoint (or any presentation software) properly. After all, presentation greats like Steve Jobs use presentation software. They just do it well.
people want to see presentations that are:
Short: No matter what type of presentation tool you are using or what topic is at the center of your presentation, stick to the 10- 20-30 rule that Guy Kawasaki promotes. Your presentation should be no longer than 10 slides. Keep it short. If you can’t get your ideas across in 10 slides, then you need to have someone else edit it down to 10 slides. The “20″ part of the equation is that you should speak for 20 minutes at the most. We all get distracted after 20 minutes. This allows time after your presentation for Q & A.
Simple: Keep the ideas focused. This is true for the overall theme of your presentation and for each slide. Within the general theme of your presentation, you should have about 3 main points (no more than 5). you should be able to get 3 main points across in 10 slides. Keep the slides simple as well. long gone are the days when audiences will put up with slides filled with text at a 10 point font. Keep it to a few words per slide, that express the ideas that you are presenting.
Understandable: Here is where the “30″ part of the equation comes in. Use a 30 point font. Then, even the person at the back of the room has a chance to read the words on your slide.
Appealing: Use words that capture people’s attention, trigger their emotions, mean something to them. As I always say, keep your audience in mind. Think of what would mean something to them and build your presentation from that standpoint.
If you follow these rules, your audience will thank you. You will also find that you are much more effective at presentations and you enjoy public speaking a lot more.
To your success,
PS. Here is one of the best books that I know of on creating great presentations Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen: