PowerPoint can be a powerful tool to deliver information or explain information to groups of people. However, getting it right is not always straightforward. These tips will help you refine your presentation
- Consider which version of the software best suits your needs. Newer versions may offer additional capabilities such as audio and video whilst older versions offer tried and tested functionality.
Don’t sweat this one too much though - the content of the presentation is much more important than bells and whistles.
- Ensure your presentation has a clear objective. Set out your agenda on the first slide and keep it at the forefront as you put together the other slides.
- Tailor it to the audience. For example, if you are delivering your presentation on an overhead screen at an exhibition, the slides must be eye-catching and concise. In a face-to-face client meeting, in-depth analysis, figures and graphs may be more appropriate.
- Divide your presentation into distinct topics and avoid overcrowding your slides. Generally, three bullet points per slide is enough, otherwise you could overwhelm your audience. If you need to elaborate on a point, use another slide.
- Use relevant images to illustrate your points. You can use PowerPoint’s clip art facility, although the images it contains do tend to look a little tired or cliched. Alternatively, search picture libraries like iStockphoto, find free photos on Flickr (make sure you choose the ‘Find content to use commercially’ option) or take your own.
- Use the right delivery method. You can deliver your PowerPoint presentation by handing out print-outs, using an overhead projector or by computer screen. If it’s not possible to deliver it face to face, you can upload it to Slide Share or Slide Boom and send a link to potential clients or partners.
Mobile applications such as Keynote for iPhone also allow you to import and send PowerPoint files.
- Remember that the software can only get you so far, and if you are carrying the presentation out face to face you should just use the slides as a prompt. Good eye contact is essential for an engaging delivery.
- Invite a response. Use your last slide to include a call to action — for example, ask the audience to visit your website, approach you for more information or invest in your business. Even simply asking for questions can spark an interesting debate.
- Use your objective as a starting point, and reiterate it at the end
- Adapt your presentation for your target audience
- Use relevant images or graphs to maintain interest and provide clarity
- Clutter slides with too many points
- Rely too much on the written PowerPoint presentation
- Face the slides instead of the audience
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