Wednesday, February 11, 2009

PowerPoint Presentation Skills

Preparing your next PowerPoint presentation doesn't have to be too taxing. Yes, it's true that the medium has its problems. But you can solve most of these problems by being more choosy with the PowerPoint palette.

So when you are ready to prepare your next PowerPoint presentation here are ten essential tips:

1) Typeface. Choose a typeface that your audience can read on your presentation screen. Experiment with a serif Typeface such as Times New Roman and sans-serif typefaces such as Arial and Verdana (Format: Replace Font).

2) Font. You want your words to be readable by your audience so aim to use a font with a point size that is fully legible: 16 point or 18 point, perhaps (Format: Font).

3) Colours. Your choice of typeface colour is also important (Format: Font: Color). Some colours will be less visible to your audience than others. Greens and reds can be indistinct on a white background. Blues and blacks have more visibility. Don't forget to consider your background colour scheme (Format: Background).

4) Bullet Points. It's the bullet point list that creates most problems for your audience. There are either too many bullet points, too many words per bullet or just too many lists in a presentation. They work best when you want to summarise or signpost direction. This is what we've done. This is where we are going.

5) Images. Aim to use images as effective visual metaphors in your presentation (Insert: Picture). They will enhance and support your speech. Make sure that your pictures are big enough to fill the screen.

6) Video. Use video and audio files in your PowerPoint presentation when you have the opportunity (Insert: Movies and Sounds). It's an ideal way to build interest and keep your audience engaged.

7) Charts and graphs are key to many presentations (Insert: Chart). Remember to keep the charts big, without too much distracting detail. Don't mix them with bullet points. It weakens their impact. Try to use the "build" technique (Slide Show: Custom Animation). Your chart can build itself as you speak based on rehearsed timings or your mouse click. Very effective.

8) Special effects can make or ruin a presentation. Try to be selective in your choice of PowerPoint effects (Slide Show: Animation Schemes and Slide Show: Slide Transition). Don't allow the special effects to be more memorable than your message.

9) Talking. Avoid the temptation to look at your PowerPoint projection when talking. Each time you do so you lose engagement with your audience. Use the Fn F5 shortcut on your keyboard to toggle your notebook display and your projection display. You can glance at your notebook screen without losing audience contact.

10) Remember the point, turn and talk technique for PowerPoint. Point at the screen, turn to your audience and then make your point.

PowerPoint gives you some exciting tools for your presentation to be truly successful. PowerPoint's visual and multimedia effects can be stunning. Just beware the trap presented by too many special effects and the standard text layouts.


1 comment:

Peter Bowler said...

These are good points for getting the most from your PowerPoint presentations.
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