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Get to the point! Tips for simplifying PowerPoint

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Technology,PowerPoint Tricks

You know a presentation is going badly when audience members start tapping on their BlackBerrys. These days, especially, it isn't easy to capture and hold a group's attention.

Keep your presentation clear and effective with these PowerPoint tips:

Save the presentation as a .pps file, rather than a .ppt file. That saves the presentation as a full-screen slide show, so you don't have to make the audience wait while you open PowerPoint, find the right file and (finally) hit "view slide show."

Maneuver easily through the presentation with this trick: Hit the "F1" key once in "Slide Show" mode. Now, you have the option of hitting Control + P to make the marking pen appear, allowing you to highlight, circle and make notes on the on-screen image. Or, you can hit Control + A to make an arrow appear that you can maneuver by mouse.

Spend less time putting together powerful presentations — Microsoft PowerPoint: Unleash Its Power and 'Wow' Features

Keep it simple by choosing effective graphics. Using PowerPoint visuals that only Einstein could decipher doesn't make the presenter look smarter. Complicated visuals will cause an audience to focus less on what the presenter is saying and more on trying to figure out the images.

So, when creating a PowerPoint presentation, follow these seven rules for keeping visuals clear and powerful:

1. Follow the "Six-by-six rule": Use no more than six words per line and no more than six lines per visual.

2. Apply the "billboard" test to each slide or transparency: "Could people read and understand the information while driving?"

3. Realize that people may forget lists, but they'll recall images. Just don't overdo the graphics.

Too often, we spend hours just trying to get content typed in and looking right. We then lack the patience and time to enhance our presentations with PowerPoint’s “wow factor” features. But with just four “must-know” toolsets, you can deliver an impressive presentation every time. Learn how!

4. Avoid using "chart junk," fancy shadings and patterns in most drawing software. You'll create the "Two C" effect—comical and confusing—by trying too hard to jazz up a chart.

5. Think "thin" when deciding on line thickness and "discreet" when picking colors. Reason: Thick lines and garish colors will distract readers.

6. Use the "one" principle: Limit each visual to one idea, one concept or one point.

7. Put it to the one-minute test: If the audience will need more than 60 seconds to figure it out, it's too complex.

Microsoft® Certified Trainer Melissa Esquibel has compiled an easy-to-use, colorful guide to getting more out of PowerPoint. Best of all, you'll learn at your own pace, and on your own schedule.

Teaching points include:
book cover
  • Starting out in Word: You’ll learn how to start your PowerPoint project by creating an outline in Word. The Executive Summary contains tips for both Word 2003 and Word 2007.
  • Design and formatting: Melissa will show you how to quickly apply designs and formatting to create the look and feel you’d like for your presentation. If you begin your presentation in Word, you will be able to stay flexible with regard to design and formatting.
  • The magic of picture graphics and animation: Once your presentation is built, you’ll explore how to add and manipulate pictures and other graphic elements, and then how to apply animation.

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