I guess more has been written and commented on the use of Power Point Presentations in the last 20 years than almost any other Presentation Tool introduced over the same period.
The Reason – Simple – Microsoft Built a Tool to make Presentations simpler for us all and also added almost every Gizmo and feature they and their clients could think of.
The Problem – People try to use all/most of the Gizmos without paying attention to the value of the tool as an aid to enhancing the message and not the message itself.
So what am I recommending?
The primary questions you have to ask yourself before any presentation are:-
1. What is the Purpose of my Talk/Presentation?
2. Who Is The Audience?
3. What is the Call to Action/Message I want them to implement?
4. What is the session all about –
a. Speech (motivation – inspiration – entertainment),
b. Training Session,
c. Sales Proposal,
d. Information Dissemination Presentation,
5. Will a Data Projected Presentation be appropriate to get the message across and get the right call to action in the end?
6. Where will this happen – Venue and facilities for a Data Presentation?
OK – so you have decided that the best way to enhance the message is with a PowerPoint or equivalent presentation. – So what format should it take so that you don’t bore the audience to death?
Here are some Keep It Simple Guidelines based on different Types of Presentations.
The FIRST Rule of Presentations
Appropriate Pictures say more that words ever will!
Contrast is Critical – i.e.
• Light Backgrounds with Dark Text
• Dark Backgrounds with Light Text
• Light backgrounds better in large and light rooms
• Dark backgrounds require stronger projectors and darker rooms.
Speech (Motivation – Inspiration – Entertainment)
• Slides to Contain PICTURES (Not Clip Art) and
• Maximum – 5 Words per slide- Less if at all possible
• The Idea is that the picture will enhance the message YOU are Delivering as the Speaker.
• Finding the right picture takes time and thought as it must add value otherwise it’s just a prop / “plonk-in” as an afterthought.
• NB- beware copyright issues on pictures you “borrow” from the web – search for Free pictures or pay for them from a stock list.
Training Session and Information Dissemination Presentations
• Here the Slides are made up of a 50% mixture of Key Bullet Points and an …
• Appropriate Pictures that enhance the main point of the slide and
• Interspersed with appropriate Video Clips that also enhance the value of the point – either seriously or humorously.
• These Slides are usually based on presenting the Problem and then the Solution in Side by side boxes.
• Max 5 Bullet Points per Box – Differentiate the Boxes (Problem and Solution) with different background shading.
• Precede the slide with one of a Photo Depicting the problem
• Follow the Solution bullets with a Slide depicting the Solution if at all possible
• A workshop is where there is one or more presenters talking to a group
• The mix is- presenters give Max 50% input via presentations – illustrations etc.
• The Delegates are involved at least 50% of the time with break away or individual work time.
• This is more facilitation techniques than a presentation but if presentations are used- then apply the rules for training sessions discussed above.
• If data projector is to be used then best to use it with expert typist and software for Mind Mapping
• Generally use facilitation tools and techniques and not PowerPoint for these sessions.
This is a vast subject to cover – I trust these few pointers will assist you in your next presentation
YOU are the centre of attention and the reason the audience is there !
Not the PowerPoint presentation.
If all you are going to do is have a list of bullet points (Like the Toastmasters Training Slides) and read them to the audience then rather just mail the presentation to the audience and stop wasting everybody’s time. (also known as “Death by PowerPoint”)
Have fun!!!! —- Blow their Socks off with your next presentation!!
Adolph Kaestner DTM