Let’s Resolve to Make PowerPoint a Better Place in 2011

“Death by PowerPoint” refers to a state of boredom and fatigue induced by information overload during presentations. We are all guilty and we know it.

Check out the very popular “Death by PowerPoint” presentation on slideshare by Alexei Kapterev.  Below are some other key pointers and suggestions for avoiding major PowerPoint capital offenses in 2011.screen-shot-2011-01-09-at-2-44-12-pm-300x222

Data Dumping Too much content crammed onto your slides only confuses your audience. The purpose of a presentation isn’t to dispense information. Too much content gets in the way of your basic message and makes your audience feel ignorant…they will resent you for it. Use the 6×6 rule: no more that six lines of text on each slide, and no line of text should have more than six words in it.

Slide Dependency You are giving a speech, not a slide show. You are the star, not the slides. Presenters who hide behind their slides and read from their slides are actually detached from the information they are trying to share. Your audience wants to connect with you.

Handouts Avoid them if possible.  You run the risk of viewers not understanding them or looking at them at the wrong time and getting confused. If you need them, pass them out when you’re ready to walk through them.

So You’re Not A Writer Before preparing the PowerPoint you need to prepare the speech. You don’t have to be a fabulous writer to pull this off. Start with a sheet of paper and put down all of the information you want to include, the way you know it and the way you want them to understand it. When you are finished ask yourself “What are the key points I want the audience to clearly understand as take-a-ways?” Have I clearly articulated those points? I always like to run through a presentation with a co-worker to see if they were easily able to define the take-a-ways.

Practice, Rehearse, Practice Great presenters work at it. If you’re not comfortable with your content going in to the presentation it will show. Always do a run through with a friend or co-worker who will give good constructive criticism. Your presentation skills and the quality of your PowerPoint are a reflection of your brand. And don’t forget to check out “Death By PowerPoint”.