10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations

By: Viral

1. Write a script.

A little planning goes a long way. Most presentations are written in PowerPoint (or some other show package) without any sort of rhyme or reason.

That’s bass-backwards. Since the saucer of your slides is to illustrate and expand what you are going to say to your audience. You should know what you intend to say and then figure discover how to visualize it. Unless you are an expert at improvising, make sure you write discover or at least outline your show before trying to place together slides.

And make sure your script follows good storytelling conventions: give it a beginning, middle, and end; have a clear arc that builds towards some sort of climax; make your conference appreciate each motion but be anxious to find discover what’s next; and when possible, always leave ‘em wanting more.
2. One thing at a time, please.

At any given moment, what should be on the screen is the thing you’re talking about. Our conference will almost instantly read every motion as presently as it’s displayed; if you have the next four points you plan to make up there, they’ll be threesome steps aweigh of you, waiting for you to catch up rather than perception with welfare to the saucer you’re making.

Plan your show so just one new saucer is displayed at any given moment. Bullet points can be revealed one at a time as you reach them. Charts can be place on the next motion to be referenced when you get to the data the chart displays. Your job as presenter is to control the flow of aggregation so that you and your conference stay in sync.
3. No paragraphs.

Where most presentations fail is that their authors, certain they are producing some kind of stand-alone document, place everything they want to say onto their slides, in enthusiastic big chunky blocks of text.

Congratulations. You’ve just killed a roomful of people. Cause of death: terminal boredom poisoning.

Your slides are the illustrations for your presentation, not the show itself. They should emphasize and reinforce what you’re saying as you give your show — save the paragraphs of text for your script. PowerPoint and other show software have functions to display notes onto the presenter’s screen that do not get sent to the projector, or you can ingest notecards, a separate word processor document, or your memory. Just don’t place it on the screen – and for goodness’ sake, if you do for some reason place it on the screen, don’t stand with your back to your conference and read it from the screen!
4. Pay attention to design.

PowerPoint and other show packages offer every sorts of structure to add visual “flash” to your slides: fades, swipes, flashing text, and other annoyances are every too easy to insert with a some mouse clicks.

Avoid the temptation to dress up your pages with cheesy effects and focus instead on simple organization basics:

* Use a sans serif font for body text. Sans serifs like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri tend to be the easiest to read on screens.
* Use decorative fonts only for motion headers, and then only if they’re easy to read. Decorative fonts –calligraphy, German blackface, futuristic, psychotic handwriting, flowers, art nouveau, etc. – are hard to read and should be distant only for large headlines at the top of the page. Better yet, stick to a classy serif font like Georgia or Baskerville.
* Put Stygian text on a light background. Again, this is easiest to read. If you must ingest a Stygian background – for instance, if your company uses a standard model with a Stygian background – make sure your text is quite light (white, cream, light grey, or pastels) and maybe bump the font size up two or threesome notches.
* Align text left or right. Centered text is harder to read and looks amateurish. Line up every your text to a right-hand or left-hand baseline – it will look better and be easier to follow.
* Avoid clutter. A headline, a some bullet points, maybe an image – anything more than that and you risk losing your conference as they sort it every out.

5. Use images sparingly

There are two schools of thought about images in presentations. Some say they add visual welfare and keep audiences engaged; others say images are an extra distraction.

Both arguments have some merit, so in this case the best option is to split the difference: ingest images only when they add important aggregation or make an abstract saucer more concrete.

While we’re on the subject, absolutely do not ingest PowerPoint’s built-in clipart. Anything from Office 2003 and earlier has been seen by everyone in your conference a thousand times – they’ve become tired, used-up clichés, and I hopefully don’t need to tell you to avoid tired, used-up clichés in your presentations. Office 2007 and non-Office programs have some clipart that isn’t so familiar (though it will be, and soon) but by now, the entire concept of clipart has about run its course – it just doesn’t feel firm and new anymore.
6. Think outside the screen.

Remember, the slides on the screen are only conception of the show – and not the main part. Even though you’re liable to be presenting in a darkened room, give some thought to your possess show manner – how you hold yourself, what you wear, how you move around the room. You are the focus when you’re presenting, no matter how interesting your slides are.
7. Have a hook.

Like the best writing, the best show shook their audiences early and then reel them in. Open with something surprising or intriguing, something that will get your conference to sit up and take notice. The most coercive hooks are often those that appeal directly to your audience’s emotions – offer them something awesome or, if it’s appropriate, scare the pants off of them. The rest of your presentation, then, will be effectively your promise to make the awesome thing happen, or the scary thing not happen.
8. Ask questions.

Questions arouse interest, pique curiosity, and engage audiences. So ask a lot of them. Build tension by posing a discourse and letting your conference lather a moment before moving to the next motion with the answer. Quiz their knowledge and then show them how little they know. If appropriate, engage in a little question-and-answer with your audience, with you asking the questions.
9. Modulate, modulate, modulate.

Especially when you’ve done a show before, it can be easy to fall into a drone, going on and on and on and on and on with only minimal changes to your inflection. Always speak as if you were speech to a friend, not as if you are reading off of index cards (even if you are). If keeping up a lively and personable tone of voice is difficult for you when presenting, do a couple of practice run-throughs. If you still can’t get it right and presentations are a big conception of your job, take a public speech course or join Toastmasters.
10. Break the rules.

As with everything else, there are times when each of these rules – or any other conception you know – won’t apply. If you know there’s a good reason to fortuity a rule, go aweigh and do it. Rule breaking is perfectly acceptable behavior – it’s ignoring the rules or breaking them because you just don’t know any better that leads to inferior boring presentations that lead to boredom, depression, psychopathic breaks, and yet death. And you don’t want that, do you?

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