Roar or snore? 4 secrets of a great presentation

Winning tips for better presentations
Winning tips for better presentations

Follow these 4 simple rules to put yourself in the position for success while presenting during a meeting.

PowerPoint® slides are seen as essential for communicating information during a presentation. The only problem with this vehicle is that they don't come with directions on how much or what type of information to place on the slides to not visually assault the audience. Use these tips and your presentations will sparkle!

1. Use only 7 words per line

2. Keep every slide to a minimum of 7 lines

3. Use visuals as much as possible

4. If you can't read it, don't show it

PowerPoint has become the go-to resource for developing and conveying a set of information to an audience. However, it is abused so regularly, we forget that its main purpose is to be a visual guide to the story you are telling.

It is not supposed to be a representation of every word you should say, every topic you should convey and every piece of information on the topic you are speaking about.

Therefore, why would you use more than 7 words on a line or more than 7 lines on a slide? More won't fit at a reasonable font size anyway.

Try using only the phrases that convey the essence of your messages, not the exact words you are going to use. Make sure the audience is focusing on you, and not the 10pt font you used to get your points across.

Visuals are so much more pleasing to the eye than a slide crammed with copy. As we have heard so often, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Don't use a thousand words to describe your visual, but you will find that visuals provide you with greater flexibility than you have had before. The only drawback to using lots of visuals is that you will need to be well prepared to explain the key points on each slide. Visuals allow the audience to focus completely on you while you share the story. And isn't this exactly where you want them focused?

Lastly, never use a slide that will have you leading with this phrase, “I apologize for the complexity shown here.” Don't show it. The audience will obviously not be able to read the information.

If you do show such a slide, you will find that your audience is spending too much time trying to determine what you are showing, or why you are showing it, instead of listening to you articulate why it is an important part of your story. Take that slide, memorize it, break it down to a simpler visual, and show your mastery of the information through language.

Follow these 4 simple rules the next time you present and you will have the audience focusing on the best source of information in the room...YOU!

PowerPoint is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

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