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Less is more when it comes to using PowerPoint

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Thousands of people deliver Power-Point presentations each day, and most could sharpen their message if the slides were less distracting.

Here are some techniques and guidelines to do that:

Don't treat the slides as your script.

For a 30-minute speech, aim for no more than 10 slides. If the presentation must include a large web of information, create screens with a handful of navigation buttons that will take the speaker to different sections of material. By choosing different buttons, she can customize the presentation.
Tip: Never re-type! Learn how to take your Word document directly into PowerPoint, without creating a formatting nightmare...

Practice restraint.

Strive for no more than six lines of type on a single slide. Some presentation experts recommend 15 words or fewer per slide.

Limit not just the number of fonts in the presentation but also the type sizes. A good range: three type sizes. If you're sharing the presentation with other people, be sure to include the fonts by using the File/Save As dialog box.

To keep the colors from being distracting, use only five or less per presentation.

Remember, a presentation isn't an action movie. If you're using transition effects, don't use every one available.

Master pictures and graphics to convert your humdrum PowerPoint into a presentation powerhouse...

Make them consistent.

One of the most effective techniques can be a "subliminal message." Under Animation Effects, choose "flash once."

To keep the file size down:

  • Don't use a higher resolution than you need. For a Windows screen, that's about 96 dpi. If you're printing the slides, you'll want at least 150 dpi, though.
  • Choose a smaller file format for graphics, such as JPEG rather than TIFF.
  • Ungroup and regroup objects such as graphics and embedded spreadsheets.
  • Don't allow Fast Saves, which can inflate the file size.
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.book cover

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