There is a high chance you will have been bored recently by a business presentation. Memorable PowerPoint presentations are unfortunately rare in the business domain. Slides that are stuffed with bullet-points and illustrated with unimaginative, irrelevant graphics have set the industry standard for too long. It is a shame because PowerPoint can be an incredibly powerful and persuasive sales tool, if used properly.
Microsoft put PowerPoint forward as a comprehensive “business graphics” package but, all too often, it is used merely as a “word processor with bells on” and feels like a prompt for limp business presenters. Follow these 5 simple tips and promise yourself never to be guilty of delivering the sort of business presentations that you have had to endure…
1. Slides are for the audience, not the presenter
The content of your slides should not resemble speaker’s notes; they are not there to keep you on track. You must have complete confidence in what is on the screen and when and how it appears. Preparation is unavoidable.
2. Slides should be meaningless until they are presented
Give yourself a clearly defined role. If everything is on the slides up front, you are essentially redundant as a presenter. The complete message should be a synchronised mix of your spoken words and supporting graphics. That is, without your explanation, the slides alone should not make much sense. The audience has to engage with you and your slides as one integrated product.
3. Complexity is fine, if conveyed simply
You can create complex arguments and images if you build them point by point, over a period of time. A laser pointer should never be needed to highlight key material. If you want to focus attention on a particular area of the slide, do so with a build or custom animation in order to make that part of the slide stand out.
4. Avoid bullet-points
Images create impact and are easier to associate with a key message. Many people believe that simultaneously showing and saying the same words reinforces the memorising process. In fact, the opposite is correct.
5. If you want to SAY it, don’t SHOW it (and vice versa)
If you want to say a particular word or phrase, don’t show it on your slides. Likewise, if it is on the slides, don’t say it on stage. This helps to keep the audience engaged by forcing them to think and is an excellent discipline to follow when seeking to make memorable PowerPoint presentations.
These tips will work best if you apply the theory to a solid presentation structure. There is no way around the fact that memorable PowerPoint presentations are well-planned. This takes time. To make your time more productive, we have produced a slideshare on presentation structure. It illustrates an easy-to-follow model for structure that will help you create and deliver memorable PowerPoint presentations.