PowerPoint presentations - more than bullet points slideshows?
For sure you've seen PowerPoint presentations on different occasions, because are not used only for business conferences, as I thought for the first time.
I get a lot of slideshows on my e-mail, with different topics: nature, religion, animals, great holiday places, etc sent by I-don't-know-who. Or should I remind also the interactive powerpoint presentations with different smart questions like "what's the synonym of the underlined word?" or the "funny" ones with Playboy pictures ?
What I'm trying to say is that almost everybody today knows how to make a slideshow and to give examples of PowerPoint presentations.
And this has a good part, the one that says that the software is easy to use.
The bad part is that it's so easy to use that everybody thinks that an MS PowerPoint training is useless because they already know how to make a good presentation.
We all know that Microsoft PowerPoint is the most popular presentation program, even though there are qualified alternatives like Apple's Keynote or OpenOffice.org Impress.
No matter what your presentation is about, you open the program, choose a template (usually not according to your theme) and start to write down some ideas for your subject, of course, with bullet points. When you finish writing you realize that the gradient background is too dark, so your text is difficult to read. Next action? Choose a strong color for your font.
Well, it's not the best way to prepare your presentation. In a slideshow you can do more than writing. You can place images that speak more than 100 words.
If you write all the text on your slides, why would anybody need you there?
You are using bullet points to make it easier to present, for seeing what you've already discussed and what's coming next. Great, but I don't see why you still need the slideshow, you can write down on a paper all the ideas.
The PowerPoint presentations are not for the audience or for you to read.
The slideshow that you have on the screen has "to speak of what you are speaking".
So bring up images full of meaning and suggestive words to catch their attention without making them bored of small-font text screens.
They don't have to TRY to read your presentation, they just have to listen and understand what your point is.
Make a brainstorming, identify the good ideas and then build a plan, so the audience will be able to follow you. Make some notes to keep in front of you. This way you won't forget what you wanted to say and finally have a clear point.Find out how much time you have for the presentation, so you can build the structure without missing important facts or going to deep in irrelevant ideas.
Remember that the PowerPoint presentations are not documents, so get away from the cluttered slides. You are the only one who has the panoramic view of the slides. The audience will only see one at a time.
If you choose to use different forms, fonts and colors, they will be exhausted by the end, even if the content was well constructed.
Use also PowerPoint graphics to make your story flow. A well design graphic will help you organize connections between the ideas.
Make it simple, you are not there to show them that you know all the PowerPoint forms.
Use icons, these are symbols that express relationships between ideas in a concise way that your audience can embrace instinctualy.
If you are using charts, make them simple. Don't scramble the screen with numbers, words, legends and scales that are really not necessary. You are not presenting a document from an annual report. Leave empty spaces, these will clarify your powerpoint presentations.
It's important to create a story that has a clear beginning, middle and end. Check your flow by reading only the titles of your slides. As you combine it with the slide layout you'll see better how to express your presentation and stop to be worried for the delivery part. The entire slideshow is a speaker support, not the other way around.
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