One of the most common ways to present information in the business setting is via a PowerPoint presentation. I’m sure you’ve had to sit through business presentations, and can see how they can become monotonous, and even boring.
To ensure that your PowerPoint presentation doesn’t send the audience to sleep, you need to know how to make a presentation, using PowerPoint slides that don’t distract, but adds to your message.
Keep it Short – As with any business presentation, it’s best to keep it short and sweet – only as long as it needs to be to convey the information. Always time yourself, allowing the PowerPoint to only a part of your allotted presentation time. You’ll want to leave time for questions and any exercises or discussions you want to have.
Don’t Read Off the Slides – Instead, look at your PowerPoint presentation as being a visual aid only. It may be used to guide the audience as to where you are going next. It may demonstrate several of your key points visually.
Build in interaction – Flip charts are much more interactive than PowerPoint as they allow two-way interaction so I often spend some time in between slides gathering feedback from the audience using the flip chart.
Use Images/Less Words – To make sure you’re not just writing blocks of text, mix things up with images and diagrams. These will provide the audience with the opportunity to consider what they’re seeing and how they take that information on board. Visit http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/, a great site with an accompanying presentation skills book showing how simply and creatively data can be communicated visually.
Change the pace – Death by PowerPoint is made even worse by a monotonous droning on and on! Make sure you allow for a change of pace in the presentation. Imagine the whole talk is like a book or movie theme, it should have light and dark. If you know you have some less interesting parts you must communicate then sandwich them between some more lively elements.
Ask Questions – A presentation doesn’t have to be one-sided, even if it is a PowerPoint presentation. Have a list of questions to ask of the audience to see how they might respond. This can help them stay alert and engaged, while also starting interesting discussions. They will also enjoy it more as they feel involved.
Avoid Too Many Flashy Techniques – It’s less about the slides and more about how the slides lead the audience through your talk. Practice with the slides to see how they look, and try to get a sense of what your audience needs to see – rather than how you can impress others with your PowerPoint skills. A PowerPoint presentation is an opportunity to have a visual background for your business message. When you use this tool wisely, you will ensure your audience is looking not only at you and the slides, but also digesting the message and considering what they can learn from the experience.
If you think you or your team could benefit from presentation skills training then please do get in touch. We offer multi award winning presentation skills training, which is also CPD accredited. We are happy to tailor our training to your specific needs, so give me, Dee Clayton a call.
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