Avoid Death By Powerpoint

skyeteam leadership development

Death by Powerpoint…its a common complaint and one that is so easily avoided when giving a presentation.  Your audience is here to LISTEN and LEARN from you.  Not to read along with your slides.  The Powerpoint presentation or visual aids should support your content.  If your audience just needs to be able to read then you don’t need to be there, your script should not appear on the Powerpoint slides.

Research indicates that people remember approximately 7% of what you say, 38% from how you say it and 55% from what they see (the Powerpoint presentation slides and your body language).  That doesn’t mean your slides should include EVERYTHING.

When creating Powerpoint slides, less is definitely more.  If you must use words then restrict yourself to no more than 5 bullets per slide, and ideally no more than 5-8 words per bullet. Though if you do this on every slide you will still end up with a boring presentation. Try using key words, or headings. They will act as a memory jogger to you (if necessary) and a focal point for the audience.  The important thing is that they will be listening to you not reading ahead.

Another tip is to use images.  Personally I do not like clip art or cartoons, now if they are appropriate and linked to your style or content then use them, but they are over used in many cases.  Instead use photographic quality images.  They will immediately make your presentation look more professional and you should be able to find images that link to the specific content that you are talking to at that time.

Try a keyword search on your presentation topic and select ‘photo’ for the type of image.  You may be surprised.  I also use iStockphoto or Flickr (ensure you check for copyright) or MorgueFile.com and Pixabay.com which have royalty free images (still give an attribution!) Don’t be afraid to use just one image to fill the whole screen if it directly relates to your script at that point.  Alternatively use an image and a few key words / bullets alongside.

For example, at your summary you may choose an image involving a signpost and the bullets would include those key points that your audience needs to recall.

Trust me.  A presentation that includes pictures will make you stand out from the ‘eye test’ approach that others use. Plus people WILL remember the image which will help them recall the points you were making.

Try it and transform your presentations from dry and dull to stimulating and interesting.