Friday, 23 January 2015

10 Tips for Successful PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPointI use PowerPoint a lot. As a trainer, the majority of the courses I deliver are accompanied by PowerPoint presentations but the last thing I want is for my audience to suffer 'death by PowerPoint'. I'm well aware that visual learners need to be able to see as well as hear something they are being taught but that doesn't mean every word you say needs to be on the screen behind you. In fact, the complete opposite is true. You should always aim to keep your slides as brief as possible. Here are 10 quick tips to help you create great PowerPoint presentations.

1. Use a big font size - Don't be afraid to 'go large'. You want to make sure everyone can clearly see what you have on the screen. This is also a great way of removing words that you don't have room for and that really don't need to be there in the first place.

2. Use visual instead of text - If you can say it with a picture rather than words, then do so. A picture can often have far more impact than any words you could use in its place.

3. Blank the screen - If you're looking to get the attention of the audience then blank out the screen. Make yourself the centre of attention until you're ready to move on with the presentation.

4. Avoid distracting animation - PowerPoint has lots of fancy animation tools that can make text come flying in from all different directions. A simple piece of advice - don't do it. It's incredibly distracting and often looks amateurish.

5. Don’t become a victim of 'Screen accompanied by still-life of speaker' - Your PowerPoint presentation is a tool that accompanies you. It's not the other way around, so don't just stand there and talk, move around, be animated, make sure the audience are fully engaged with you.

6. Reveal bullet points one at a time - If you reveal a slide with five bullet points you can guarantee the audience are reading through all five, probably while you're trying to draw attention to the first one. Reveal your bullet points one at a time, to keep the audience focused.

7. Use a remote control - A remote control to advance your slides (or even a wireless mouse) gives you the flexibility to move around and help keep the focus on you. It also allows you to blank the screen (see tip number 3) whenever you need.

8. Use a consistent template -  For a professional look, the background for each slide should always be the same. It's the content on the background that changes.

9. Check your spelling and grammar - If you have spelling mistakes on your slides your audience will probably be paying more attention to them than the actual content. proofread carefully.

10. Practice! - Once you've put your presentation together you need to practice it before you 'go live'. You might even want to video yourself on something like a smartphone to see how you're doing.

If you'd like to learn more about giving dynamic and effective PowerPoint presentations then take a look at our website. We deliver courses throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK.