Tuesday Tip-Off: How to Stay Out of PowerPoint Hell

I have a love-hate relationship with PowerPoint. It is a great comms tool – when used smartly. Click to the next slide: more times than not, it is misused and abused, with presenters killing their poor audiences.

Here are five ways to avoid devilishly dull presentations:

Don’t even open PowerPoint until you have outlined your presentation. PowerPoint should support your talk, not be the talk. First, figure out what you want to cover in your presentation. Then create slides.

Ask: Do I even need slides? An opening is much more powerful when delivered without images that can be a distraction. Writing a few numbers or key words on a flip chart or white board is much more engaging than clicking through the dreaded deck.

Have fun and be creative. In my workshops I challenge attendees to come up with stories and draw pictures to support their presentation topics. I’m constantly amazed at how creative people can be when given the chance.

If you MUST use slides… keep them simple and use the rule of sixes: no more than six words per line, no more than six lines of text per slide and no more than six slides without a picture slide or graphic.

Be interactive. Rather than present non-stop, build in breaks to ask your audience questions. Turn off the projector and show a prop or move to a whiteboard. Build in a brief exercise or breakout session.

Is your organization addicted to PowerPoint? Contact me today to learn how my presentation coaching workshops help professionals at all levels break the PowerPoint habit and become more effective and engaging speakers. They’re a lot of fun, too!