Speaking & Presentation Skills
5 Things Your Powerpoint Presentation Should Never Do

by Debbie Fay
Think you should show off your command of PowerPoint software? Think if it's "on the slide the audience will "know it"? Think more is better? Think again.
A powerful article forcing you to think!
Tell the story without you; If your PowerPoint presentation can stand on its own, it's a white paper or a handout NOT a visual aid. Your slides (or any other visual) should help you tell your story, and preferably in a way that words alone cannot. Ideally it should illustrate a concept that you are talking about. Think kindergarten; think Show and Tell. Your PowerPoint presentation is the "show" part. YOU are the "tell" er.

Require "Super" vision: Nothing is nuttier than a presenter introducing a slide with the words, "You can't really see this, but..." You're kidding, right? If I can't see it WHY am I looking at it? Your slides must be able to be seen from anywhere in the room. This means a type no smaller than 20 pts. (Yes, you read that right.) Any text should read left to right, not south to north or on a diagonal. Who wants to keep turning their head sideways to read what the Y axis represents? Use imple sans serif fonts (Arial, Tahoma, Calibri) and PLEASE- no shadows behind the words. It may look "artsy" and "creative" to you, but to us it's an eyesore. Literally.

Advertise the wacky wonders of PowerPoint: Yes! PowerPoint can make words bounce in! Fly in! Checkerboard in! It can even make NOISE when things appear! But unless you're giving a presentation on the features of PowerPoint, these things should NOT be part of your presentation. In fact, you want the entrance of information to be virtually unnoticed by the audience (unless you are making a visual point that requires a 3 ring circus kind of entrance). Decide what kind of subtle entrance you'd like your information to have and stick with it throughout. That way it becomes invisible to your audience and they can focus on what they're seeing instead of how it's coming to them.

Require us to read: A billboard type slide is one thing; but sentences? Rows and rows of bullets and sub-bullets? Gotta go. Here's why; we read and listen with the same side of our brains. Thus, when you put up a slide that requires reading you are forcing your audience to make a choice; read or listen. They cannot do both at the same time effectively. If you think you'll solve the problem by reading the slides to them here's more bad news; they can read anywhere from 3-10 times faster than you can speak. And besides; they can read! They don't need you to read it to them. If you think it must be on the slide in order for your audience to "know" it; think again. A diagram is much more "sticky" than rows of bullets. Think about it. How many bullet points do you remember from the last presentation you attended? See what I mean?

Look unrelated to you: This always amazes me, but very often presenters have slides that in no way mirror their brand. Where's their logo? Why are they using colors other than their own? Whether you're a little budding business or an established behemoth, you should have a logo and a brand. ANY and ALL of your visuals should mirror these two things. That means your logo should be on EVERYTHING and your colors should influence EVERYTHING. If you have a tag line and you can work that into your presentation, even better. NO, it's not boring. Repetition is a MUST when it comes to this stuff. You want your audience to constantly be reminded of who you are and what you're about. Your PowerPoint slides are a perfect vehicle. Use them! If you are guilty of any of these "crimes against audiences" I beg you; step away from the animator, away from the bullets, away from the rainbow of colors and no one will get hurt (or fall asleep). Better still; you'll be heard.

Debbie Fay is the founder of bespeak presentation solutions, a public speaking coaching / presentation skills building company.
To learn more, point your browser to; http://www.bespeakpresentations.com or contact Debbie at dfay@bespeakpresentations.com

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