In today’s working world, “presenting” has become nearly synonymous with “PowerPoint.”
Microsoft’s development of PowerPoint presentation software program is surely among their biggest gifts to business people, educators, professionals and even students. Mind you, PowerPoint is not the only presentation software. Not at all. But it is so widely used and so widely recognized that people have come to refer to any presentation using a computer and slides as “a PowerPoint.” It’s very much like what happened with the words “Xerox” and “Kleenex.” They were originally brand names, but the brands became so big and their products so widely used that their names became the most commonly used term for any product of their type, regardless of who produced it.
Most of us – at least those whose work involves presenting – have become quite accustomed to having PowerPoint around. If you’ve tried using PowerPoint at any stage of your professional career then you have most likely stopped and wondered how people used to manage to get through their business presentations without it. It (and its cousins from other providers) is without question a spectacularly efficient and professional tool for presentations of all kinds.
It’s become kind of an unwritten rule that meetings and corporate reporting should be done in PowerPoint. And if you think about it, there’s no reason why not. It’s the most convenient and user-friendly way of doing it. Friendly to presenters and “presentees” alike.
What if you don’t HAVE PowerPoint yet?
Now, if you don’t happen to have PowerPoint available to you, getting a hold of it is a simple proposition.
Of course you can buy the program from most any office supply store, on a disc. But it’s even more convenient to get it straight from Microsoft as a download. Just go to the Microsoft website, or Google “PowerPoint 2010 download” and you’ll find it. Visit one of the pages listed, follow the prompts and you’re in business.
There’s usually a free trial download available from Microsoft (Google “PowerPoint 2010 free download”). Once your trial is over (and you’ve fallen in love with the program) you can purchase it and just keep on using it. There are also other free downloads of the program available around the web. And as time goes forward, downloads of the latest versions of the program will become available, too. As this is being written, for example, we can expect PowerPoint 2013 to be showing up any minute.
Fortunately, you don’t have to have the newest and most powerful computer to be able to use PowerPoint. It’s compatible with most operating systems and hardware.
Get the very most out of PowerPoint
Once you have PowerPoint downloaded, installed and running, you’re ready to start putting together some great presentations. But what if you don’t happen to be a genius at making great-looking slides, or a creative genius in general? No worries. There’s plenty of help available.
PowerPoint comes with a built-in selection of templates. These certainly work, but SO many people use them that there’s a risk involved: they may make your presentation seem a bit boring and predictable, if your audience has seen them often enough, in other people’s presentations. Fortunately, there’s a good solution available, to avoid that problem. There are companies who offer lots of fresh, unique templates, graphics and other elements to make your presentation stand out. Some even offer assistance in creating presentations, customized templates and so on – as well as advice and training in how to become better and better at the presentation game yourself.
As I say, there are a number of such providers around. But I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise that I’m going to recommend one in particular, as – in my humble opinion! – it’s the best of the best: Slideshop.com.