“I can’t make your meeting. Can you just email me your deck?” That common request, of course, refers to all the PowerPoint slides for a meeting presentation. A valid response might be, “If my deck can stand without me and communicate everything I want to communicate, why would I need to gather everyone for a meeting?”
Think about how you present your PowerPoint slides. Do you cram everything on just a few slides? Sometimes, that’s a good thing, for example, when generating self-directed presentations and print collateral. But when you want to make the presenter the star of the show, not the presentation, here are a few things you can do.
Keep it simple
Make your presentation an enhancement to your message, that is, a tool to further the goal of communicating the message personally. In Presentation Zen (New Riders, 2008), author Gar Reynolds quotes Da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
The slides should be simple when the speaker is the focal point. Generally, if you can state something using fewer words, do it! Will three bullet points guide the topic discussion as well as five? Then, use three. Can you state the information in the bullet point as a smaller phrase rather than a complete sentence? Then, choose that format.
Animate for a purpose
Two best practices for animations:
- Don’t animate everything.
- Animate only for a purpose.
Sometimes, it’s best to communicate an idea in layers (think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or an organizational chart). Animate bullets so they Fly in one at a time as you cover each piece of the presentation. Is it better to discuss one aspect of the presentation at a time and then show all the points in a summary?
This guide isn't just how to make PowerPoint presentations (you can learn that online), it's how to make really good ones. Learn How...
As you Fly in a bullet, Fly out the previous one. Then, Fly all of them in as a group. Using the Custom Animation pane to arrange your “script” makes this process easier. (In PowerPoint 2010, turn it on using the Animation tab, Advanced Animation group, Animation Pane button.)
Slides do not equal handouts
Consider putting detailed material, such as charts, graphs or statistical tables in the handouts, not in the PowerPoint presentation. When an audience sees the slide, but it’s difficult to read, they become frustrated.
And, until they give up trying to read the slide, they’re probably not paying attention to you. Saying, “Take a moment to review the chart on page 4 of your handouts …” gives your audience a chance to really study the information, and gives the presenter a chance to catch a breath!
In this Executive Summary – crafted by Microsoft Certified Trainer Melissa Esquibel – you’ll receive expert guidance on the quickest, most efficient ways to create appealing slide masters, custom themes, tables and charts, multimedia elements, SmartArt and effective animation.
Melissa utilizes her 25-plus years of experience in information technology with a background in training, technical writing and business risk analysis to help you understand the amazing potential of Microsoft PowerPoint. She has edited the transcript of her webinar and included screen caps and graphics – together with 73 screen shots – to guide you in getting the most out of what PowerPoint has to offer.
Get your copy today!
Contributor: Melissa P. Esquibel, Microsoft® Certified Trainer.