Is it PowerPoint or is it you?

Susan Shapiro, Owner, Bralan Consulting
No doubt you’ve attended at least one meeting where a PowerPoint (PPT) presentation was made that you had a hard time staying focused on. You may have even dozed off.
Why? Is PowerPoint really so bad?
PowerPoint is an application that allows the user to create robust presentations. Offering multiple slide options, themes and backgrounds, as well as a variety of animation schemes (i.e. bells & whistles) users can create exciting presentations using text, images and graphs.
So what’s the problem? Well, many speakers don’t know how to create or to give a good PPT presentation. Following are the 4 biggest mistakes that creators/presenters make in their presentations:
1. Using too many special effects.

  • Although PPT has many options, it doesn’t mean you should use them all in one presentation. Bells and whistles have unique sounds that if used sparingly can be quite beautiful. However, if you ring all the bells and blow all the whistles at the same time all you have is noise!
  • Pick one theme and/or background – or use none at all – and stick with it consistently throughout your whole presentation. If each slide presents itself with a different look and feel it becomes a distraction to the audience and your point will get lost in the noise.
  • Use animation sparingly as needed to make a point. Only have bullets appear one by one if you plan to discuss each bullet separately.

2. Not using graphics strategically.

  • Use graphics/images to clarify or simplify a point – for example, when discussing statistics or growth.
  • If you do use an image it should be accompanied by a minimum amount of text – just enough to state what the image represents – or by no text at all if you wish to just talk to it directly.
  • If you must use an animated image, be sure to stop the animation soon after navigating to the slide to keep it from becoming a distraction from the point you are making.

3. Writing everything and then reading it.

  • Don’t write down every word you plan to say on each slide and then just read it. Your audience is most likely reading the words themselves much faster than you are speaking them.
  • Think of your slide as an outline organizing your information. Use text and graphics as prompts for your explanations. No one wants to attend a meeting to be read to!

4. Being boring yourself.

  • Show passion, or at least excitement, at what you’re presenting. If you aren’t energized by the information, your audience won’t be either.

PowerPoint is a powerful, flexible tool that if used properly will enhance, rather than detract from your presentation. Some resources:
A business man’s view of best practices when using PowerPoint:
Shared PowerPoint presentations – a place to learn as well as gather ideas for your presentation:
Susan Shapiro.jpgSusan Shapiro is the owner of Bralan Consulting LLC. She assists you in finding the right technology for your needs, as well as teaching you to be efficient and comfortable with the technology you use.