Presenting in Style
words you don’t want to hear
PowerPoint, and other presentation tools can be extremely useful, but too often are not.
There are two main problems:
- Poor design
- Poor presentation
Everyone can do something about both of these before your audience complains of “Death by PowerPoint” or my favourite: “PowerPointlessness”.
The main errors with design are simple: too much text and too dull.
I’m not an expert, but I know what bores me to death. I recall being seated in a presentation theatre at a conference and trying to find every letter of the alphabet on each slide. There were two reasons I was able to attempt this. First, because there was so much text on each slide; secondly, because the presenter was reading every word to me I had plenty of time. I don’t remember what she was talking about, but I remember the experience. I remember another occasion when I was member of a small audience for a presentation, and being a well-mannered person, I couldn’t simply walk out. Instead, I contemplated feigning a heart attack so that the presentation would stop and I could escape.
The simplest solution to presentation woes is to prepare and practice. Your preparation is essential. My experience is that it will take you significantly longer to create your presentation than it will take to deliver. So, start by knowing very clearly what message you want to convey. A number of links below give better advice than I can about putting your presentation together. It does take time and practice. And you will get better at it if you are a bit critical of yourself. When it comes to giving your presentation keep in mind that not many people are able to talk off the cuff and 1) include everything they want and need to, 2) not stumble verbally. Just an aside, not everybody is as funny as they think they are, either. Practise with a script, or at least with the notes you will be using.
advice from experts
From UK PC Advisor this well named article: 10 Ways Anyone Can Give Better Presentations Using PowerPoint: Tips for giving better presentations
Aaron Weyenberg from TED: 10 Tips of how to make slides that communicate your idea
some big news
PowerPoint isn’t the only presentation software, and may not be the best for you, despite the fact that the two words have become synonymous.