Tips on how to get more out of PowerPoint

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to observe many excellent presenters skillfully using PowerPoint (PPT) to enhance their presentations. Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve learnt from them:

  • Use pictures rather than words to reinforce or summarise a particular point
  • Try to have one idea per slide – prefer more slides rather than a few slides crammed full of information
  • Each of your slides needs to be relevant to the main idea of your presentation. If a slide doesn’t add clarity to your main idea then get rid of it
  • Turn off PPT altogether (you must be in “slideshow” mode) by using the “b” key to make the screen go black (don’t do this if you’ve dimmed the lights in the room!) or the “w” key  to make the screen go white. Hit the same key again to turn PPT back on and return to your last slide. This is a great trick to get your audience to look at you rather than your PPT
  • Use animation (you know, the zooming in and out of dot points, blinds opening and closing etc) but don’t overdo it. It was great back in the 90s but we’ve all become a little jaded by it. The same applies to Clipart
  • Never, ever read aloud from your PPT slide and don’t make people from your audience do it either (I’ve seen it happen).  Give your audience time to digest the content of your slide then hit the “b” or “w” key to turn it off.
  • Make sure you have a remote to change slides so you don’t have to be always standing next to your laptop during your presentation
  • If you use an infrared pointer make sure it works on the screen where your PPT is showing. LED TVs reflect red (so your audience won’t see it) but I’ve seen green light pointers work quite well
  • Learn how to properly embed a video clip into your presentation – it’s easy and lets you move effortlessly between your PPT and video clip. You can also link another slide to the slide you’re currently on so that you don’t need to scroll to find it – great if you want to reference something you’ve already mentioned

These points are just the tip of the iceberg. Keep an eye out next time you’re watching a PPT presentation – take note of what works and what you find distracting and irritating.

Do you have more tips? Please share them in the comments section below.

 

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