Building your PowerPoint presentation

Building your PowerPoint presentation

First, whenever you are stuck within PowerPoint, I can only advise you to use the help function (F1 key, Microsoft Online Help). Why shall you check on other website than the one of Microsoft!

Again you are the central focus of the presentation. You are not there to present your PowerPoint slides. Your PowerPoint slides are there to support your message. The same applies with a paperboard or a video. Those are all mediums to bring evidence to your ideas. Speaking of your slides, bullet points formatting is to avoid with no exception.

Why should you not use bullet points? Actually this is how PowerPoint is built : bullet point formatting to insert your text. There Microsoft was wrong as they simply overlooked the logic of communication. Now let’s think that you will present the above slides. How do you think your audience will behave ? Part of your audience will probably read the slides, and therefore not listen to you anymore. That means your participants will not be moving at the same pace, since some will be not be listening to you. You should always aim at getting everyone in the room moving at the same pace. A positive group spirit will then arise.

If the slides already show in details what you will say, why should you speak ? Actually there is nothing wrong asking your audience to read the screen for a specific action, but then you will not speak. Your objective is to help the audience memorize what you bring to them. How can they memorize if they have to read and listen at the same time. The presentation should be focused enough for them to think, to assimilate and not to read and take notes. What do you remember the most ? What you understand indeed. Therefore it is important to give the time to the audience to understand your speech. The only way is that they should only focus to one channel, which is you! “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”, Albert Einstein.

Another drawback of the bullet point formatting is that you may not have much more to say. You first objective is always to be the center of attention. As seen just before, everyone in the audience must move at the same pace.

Some research show that people will only recall after 3 days 20 % of a presentation if they were only shown. They will remember 65% if they were shown and explained.

I am sure you are familiar with the old Chinese proverb “one picture is worth ten thousand words”. As Ramsborg and Tinnish put it: “The adult learners of today expect “infotainment,” the delivery of information in an entertaining format. Even the most serious programming on television, the news, is created now with graphics, music, lighting, and special effects. Sports arenas now have giant television screens to show instant replays and powerful sound systems for commentary and music. There aren’t many places that people go where they are not treated to a “show” - and meetings are no exception”.

Visuals are the most effective means to convey messages. They say more than words, visuals such as images convey emotions, feelings, sentiments. They also help connecting with the audience. By keeping much simpler the slide, you will be the only one delivering the content.

If you believe that each of the points are too critical not to stress visually, then you could add a slide per idea.

You decide of the rules according to your objectives. I personally like to use the flipchart from time to time as it allows to take control of the space. Again you and the audience should be connecting, the PowerPoint Slides are not a design championship!