Death By PowerPoint
(Does It Have To Be So Dull?)
PowerPoint. The go to presentation software for many a business expert, but equally the one program that strikes dread into many course attendees.
As a Human Resources and Development professional I have given plenty of presentations, prepared team building events, run training courses, and trained the trainers. So it won’t come as a surprise to know that I have picked up a lot of tricks and techniques along the way to keep my audience engaged. It’s not about being put off using PowerPoint. It is actually a very useful presentation tool when used well. It’s about using it and giving the presentation in the best possible way. So, here are a few of my top tips to keep your audience on their toes:
1. Make slides interesting. If they’re going to be there, make them colourful. Add pictures. Put in diagrams. Try to find something on topic but humorous to add in.
2. Edit and edit again before you deliver your presentation. Keep the slides on point and don’t over use them. If there’s another way of conveying relevant information then do it. Mix it up.
3. Don’t put all the words on the slides. Your audience can most likely read. They don’t need you to read to them. They want you to enthuse them and keep them interested, not lull them to sleep.
4. Don’t use gimmicks. The fast slide in function is fun the first time, but when you’re standing among a room of business professionals it will seem like exactly what it is, a gimmick. You can and must engage your audience in other ways rather than relying on features like this.
5. Don’t sit down, partially obscured by a laptop, moving through your slides. Stand up, move around, create an energy.
6. Use other technology to assist you. The Logitech Spotlight Presentation Remote is a perfect example of this. You can link with your laptop or projector via Bluetooth, stand up to 30 metres away, and still change through your slides or play a video. You can also use the spotlight to highlight key points to your audience. No more needing to wipe smudges from your glasses as you follow the presenter’s red laser across the screen, squinting to see where they’re pointing to. Plus you can use it to zoom in to an image to demonstrate the finer detail of an photo or the important section of a graph.
7. Change your intonation. Monotone just does not work when you are presenting. If you want your audience to be interested, make your voice interesting.
8. Give out handouts at the beginning. Some will disagree, and you do want your audience’s attention to be on your presentation, but some people learn best through writing things down so give them the opportunity. Plus, if the hand outs are put to one side for a few days (or weeks) you want participants to remember what points were discussed too! If your presentation is likely to be a long one, have hand outs ready for certain points throughout to retain interest.
9. Take breaks. Move delegates around. Even a short five minute break can be very refreshing, for you too!
10. Ensure that refreshments are to hand, including plenty of water. Consider the room temperature. Too warm and cosy and delegates may be in danger of nodding off!
11. And finally, practice really does make perfect. Try out what you’re going to say. Practice to your spouse, your neighbour, your fish. If you are using a tool like the Logitech remote, consider how you can get it to do some of the work for you. Along with the benefits mentioned above, this brilliant gadget has a vibration alert so that you can set timed milestones and it will let you know when you need to move on. Cool eh?
I hope that you find this useful when next preparing for a presentation. It almost makes me want to dust off my court heels and get back out there!
N.B. This is a sponsored post. For more information, please head over to my disclosure page.