You have probably sat through more than one poor PowerPoint presentation – the kind where you start checking your emails or texting someone (anyone!) just to keep yourself awake.
When it’s your turn to be the presenter, the last thing you want to do is bore your audience to tears. So the big question becomes, “How can I make a good PowerPoint presentation??” Follow these tips, apply a bit of creativity, and your audience will stay away from their smartphones!
One of the biggest mistakes people make when developing a PowerPoint presentation is making it too complicated. The words on each slide are there to support you during your presentation, not to explain everything, down to the tiniest detail. How to avoid this mistake? These steps are a big help:
- Use bullet points
- Stay away from complete sentences
- Get right to the point
In addition, although passing out a syllabus is a great idea, do not pass around handouts that duplicate your slides. They won’t make sense without your presentation. (If they did, then they would be too detailed.)
2. Use Templates
Templates are a great way to ensure that your fonts and graphics and layout look professional. But just because you have a template, you aren’t forced to stick to it completely. Really top-quality templates, such as those available from providers like Slideshop.com, can be edited and customized, so they truly become your own. Add your own colors, corporate logos, and other images. You can even change fonts, if doing so would better suit your particular presentation. Fortunately, you don’t have to have an advanced degree from PowerPoint University to make such changes. There are plenty of resources for learning how, such as this video on YouTube.
The third big mistake is neglecting to practice. You may feel confident that you know your facts and your presentation’s content backwards and forwards. And you may be absolutely right! However, knowing the facts and delivering them in a smooth, confident way is another matter entirely. That’s especially, sometimes painfully true when something unexpected comes up during a presentation.
The answer is practice. You DO need to practice, especially if you aren’t used to public speaking. If possible, practice in the room where you will be making your presentation. Then you can check to see that your voice is strong enough to carry all the way to the back, and get accustomed to using just the right volume. (Remember, though – sound won’t carry quite as far in a room full of people as it will when the room is empty.)
Your practice should include at least one trial run with all of the equipment you will be using. This can prevent embarrassing technical mistakes, delays and annoyances – for the audience, and for you, too.
Using these steps to avoid common mistakes, you stand a far better chance of making a good PowerPoint presentation. One that captures and holds everyone’s attention and interest. And that means you won’t have to go through the frustration of watching your audience pecking away at their smartphones while you’re working away up front.
For some more information and tips, take a look at some our other posts – such as 6 Body Language Mistakes You May Be Making and How to Fix Them.