Presentation on theme: "How many of us, listening to a PowerPoint presentation, have found our attention wandering? Sadly, the answer is most of us who regularly see PowerPoint."— Presentation transcript:
How many of us, listening to a PowerPoint presentation, have found our attention wandering? Sadly, the answer is most of us who regularly see PowerPoint presentations.
Here are some suggestions to help make your PowerPoint presentations more memorable.
Don't overload the presentation The most common mistake is to include everything you want the audience to know. It is human nature. We have spent time collecting the information - of course we want to use it. Remember, the presentation is more interesting to you than to your audience, so edit ruthlessly.
Keep the word count down The golden rule is keep the word-count down. It is easy to take words out - you don't need to write in sentences and it is often best to verbalize the subjective bits - often adjectives.
Use images instead of words Wherever possible use images. Images are easier on the audience and they help to re- focus the audience's attention on you.
12 slides are usually better than 24 There is no magic number as to how many slides you can have but as a general rule 12 slides are better than 24, and 36 is asking a lot of your audience. However, it really depends on what you have on your slides: presenting research results is very different from, say, a sales presentation.
Know your audience Sometimes it is better to keep to the key points. Sometimes it works better to give lots of detail. However, there will always be exceptions to the rule so it helps to know your audience.
Vary the format Whether you are using bullet points, graphs or bar charts, too much repetition is dull so change it around a lot.
Make it easy to read Your presentation should be easily read at the back of the room by the person with weaker eyesight than yourself. Use generously-large fonts and make sure there is enough color contrast between text and background: white and yellow, for example, are difficult to read together. Play safe on this, colors that look ok on your computer screen will not necessarily be displayed as clearly through a projector.
Use easy to read fonts. We like Verdana, but Arial and Tahoma are good too. Avoid the weird ones and avoid type that is close together like Times New Roman.
Practice makes perfect Practice your delivery. When you are practicing, speak the presentation out loud. It should sound like the spoken word and not the written word.
Don't read the slide out loud Find something new to say that isn't on the slide. Don't read the slide out loud; the audience will have read it for themselves long before you finish.
Think about the tone Tone of voice is important and this will depend on what the presenter feels comfortable with given the audience and circumstances. Presentations are mostly improved by humor and informality - it helps the audience relax and gives them a reason to pay attention.
Give your presentation a narrative quality An important point to remember with PowerPoint is to include the connecting words that link slides together. Examples of connecting words are "however", "because of this" "nevertheless". These are important. They add sense of narrative that brings continuity to your presentation, rather than it being a series of independent slides.
It is not uncommon for presenters to begin each new chart with the words "this chart shows". So dull, so forgettable. Why is it that a small child can tell you the 500 or so words of the Goldilocks story while most adults struggle to recall 10 items on a grocery shopping list? It is because the Goldilocks story is broken down into memorable scenes and connected by narrative.
Treat your audience as guests Do not defer to the slide. Look at your audience, not the screen. Only look at the screen briefly to remind yourself what is showing. Remember, it is a mistake to turn your back on the audience. Smile at the audience. Be warm in words and body language. Make eye contact. Even if you are addressing a large room of people it is still possible to give the appearance of eye contact by looking at your audience and sweeping the room with your eyes.