Before you create any slides, think about what you want to communicate to your audience. Your goal isn’t to dazzle the audience with your Power Point skills, but to communicate something – a company policy, the merits of a product or the virtues of a strategic plan. Your goal is to bring the audience to your side. To that end, here is some practical advice to build your presentations:
Start by writing text in Word.
Start in Microsoft Word, not Power Point, so that you can focus on the words. In Word, you can clearly see how the presentation develops. You can make sure that your presentation builds to its rightful conclusion. Power Point has a special command for getting headings from a Word file.
When choosing a design, consider the audience.
A presentation calls for a mute, quiet design;or something bright and splashy. Select a slide design that sets the tone for your presentation and wins the sympathy of the audience.
Keep it simple.
To make sure that Power Point doesn’t upstage you, keep it simple. Make use of the Power Point features, but do so judiciously. An animation in the right place at the right time can serve a valuable purpose. It can highlight an important part of a presentation and grab the audience’s attention. But stuffing a presentation with too many gizmos turns a presentation into a carnival sideshow and distracts from your message.
Follow the one- slide – per minute rule.
At the very minimum, a slide should stay on-screen for at least one minute. If you have 15 minutes to speak, you’re allotted no more than 15 slides for your presentation, according to the rule.
Beware the bullet point.
Bullet points have their place in a presentation, but if you put them there strictly to remind yourself what to say next, you’re doing your audience a disfavor. Bullet points can cause drowsiness. They can be a distraction. The audience skims the bullets when it should be attending to your voice and the argument you’re making. When you tempted to use a bulleted list, consider using a table, chart, or diagram instead.
Take Control from the start.
Spend the first minute introducing yourself to the audience without running PowerPoint (or, if you do run PowerPoint, put a simple slide with your company name or logo on screen). Make eye contact with the audience. This way, you establish your credibility. You give the audience a chance to get to know you.
Make clear what you’re about.
In the early going, state very clearly what your presentation is about and what you intend to prove with your presentation.. In other words, state the conclusion at the beginning as well as the end. This way, your audience knows exactly what you’re driving at and can judge your presentation according to how well you build your case.
Personalize the presentation.
Make the presentation a personal one. Tell the audience what your personal reason for being there or why you work for the company you work for. Knowing that you have a personal stake in the presentation, the audience is more likely to trust you. The audience understands that you’re not a spoke person, but a speaker – someone who has come before them to make a case for something that you believe in.
Tell a story.
Include an anecdote in the presentation. Everybody loves a pertinent and well-delivered story. This piece of advice is akin to the previous one about personalizing your presentation. Typically, a story illustrates a problem for people and how people solve the problem. Even if your presentation concerns technology or an abstract subject, make it about people.
Use visuals, not only words, to make your point.