PowerPoint Resurrection

Resurrection Tomb with Powerpoint Icon Rising

Enhancing Your Presentation using PowerPoint

PowerPoint, or any other equivalent program, is a powerful tool to help you organize your presentations.

Main PointsRed PowerPoint Icon

) You are the presentation, not the PowerPoint.
) Connect with your audience.
) PowerPoint is a visual medium, so use more images than points to make PP truly powerful.
) When selecting, think whether it adds or detracts. ) Sometimes, less is more.


Australian Electric Power Point Wall Socket) Cram your information in, and you’ll squeeze your audience out.
) Create white space.
) Use a 32 font size or larger.
) Contrast size, font and colour.
) Stand where you’re not obscuring the screen.

PowerPoint Presenter
) Stand to the left of the screen, as we read from left to right.
) Blank slides when done with them.
) Blank slides when moving across.
) Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

You are the Presentation

You are the presentation, not the PowerPoint slides. Presenting is all about you. Let me clarify that, it’s actually all about the audience, what you can do for them and give them. However, the power behind every presentation is the ability for the audience to hear and see you. If I’m wrong, give them your notes and save everybody a lot of time. You are the presentation, not your PowerPoint slides.


On screen dot points help your audience follow your main presentation. However, presenters themselves should not use the PowerPoint screen to guide them through their presentation. They should rely on their own dot point script. If you’re not looking at your audience, you’re not connecting.


PowerPoint is a visual medium and I believe that to make PowerPoint truly powerful, use more images and fewer points. The two mantras I PowerPoint Presenter on LHS apply to all aspect of presenting are, “If it doesn’t add, it detracts.” and “Less is more”. If your PowerPoint slides don’t add to your presentation, it detracts. If you fill the screen with lots of information, you’ll lose your audience and you won’t connect. PowerPoint use can only be justified if it can get your point or message across more clearly, more effectively and more powerfully, than you could do without it.


The Cure


Pill Capsule


There are many dos and don’ts and “Rules of Thumb” when it comes to PowerPoint design and presentation. PowerPoint design includes the use of white space, font size and font style, colour combinations and chart design. And presentation skills include stage use and eye contact. There is plenty of information out there. However, I’ve included the main ones below.

PowerPoint Design

Check out the video below that inspired the images directly below.

PowerPoint Slide with Crammed TextPowerPoint Slide 2 with Crammed Text Spill Over


Don’t crowd you images or text. That is, leave lots space around your images and your text. Especially white space.

White Space

Trim you photos of anything that might distract from what you are trying to display. Make your images pop by selecting what you want to show them and surround it with white space to direct the audience’s focus. (Check out the difference between the two images below).

Vietnam Street Hawker Photo
Vietnam Street Hawker
Vietnam Street Hawker Highlighted with White Space
                                     Vietnam Street Hawker


Visuals & Points

Use minimal text. I recommend a maximum of three lines per slide. And if you can dim the points you’re not referring to, that’s a bonus (see the don’t and do examples below)


Slide Crowded with Text and Images
Slide 1

Slide 1 Don’t show all three points bold. Don’t show all three images in full. It crowds the slide.

Slide with First Image and Point Highlighted
Slide 1 – Modified





Slide 1 – Modified. Modify the images and surround them with white space to make them pop. Only display the main point boldly, with a larger font size. Show other points lightly, to hint at what’s to come.



Slide with Second Image and Point Highlighted
Slide 2

Slide 2 This slide clearly highlights the second point and image, however still making you aware of the 1st & 3rd points.





Slide with Third Image and Point Highlighted
Slide 3

Slide 3 Displaying the last and third point.






Slide with All Reduced Images and Points Highlighted
Slide 4

Slide 4 At the end you have the option to display all the points and images as a recap.





Size – Use a 32 point font size as a minimum and don’t be afraid to go larger.

Large Number Thirty Two headed by Script Text


Font Styles

Mix your font styles. What do I mean by font styles? Well, have you heard oSerif text in Serif font in Serif Aspects Highlightedf the font “Serif”? The circled aspects are typical of the Serif font style.   Sans Serif text in Sans Serif FontThen go with an opposite contrasting font. Maybe use the font called “Bold Sans Serif”. “Sans”, is the French word for without.

What about “Script” fonts? See the font, Savoye LET PFont Savoye-let-plain: 1.0 text in Font Savoye-let-plain: 1.0lain: 1.0 below. In life things stand out when they contrast. So totally opposing fonts will have the effect of highlighting. each other. See the image above.

Font Size

Similarly, large and small size fonts also create contrast. In fact, you need to be bold about this and go the whole hog. Maybe, that’s why opposites attract?

I suggest you experiment with contrasting font styles to make your text pop. People pay attention when things contrast. And don’t forget to give your text and images space so that they stand out and get noticed.

Colour Combinations
Twelve Point Colour Wheel
12 Point Colour Wheel

Like your images, you also want your text to stand out and be readable. Good colour choices will make that happen. Good choices are black on white or white on black. When it comes to colours, select the opposite colours on the 12-point colour wheel on the left.   Yellow Writing on Light Green Background


The example on the right just doesn’t work, yet I see it on webpages, blogs and PowerPoint slides everywhere.

Chart Design

Basically, you use charts for clarity. However, most charts are too crowded, unclear and have too much information. More information does not mean greater clarification.

Crowded Bar Chart









For clarity you need to be clear on the point you are trying to illustrate. What doesn’t add detracts and less is more.


Clean Clear Bar Chart


PowerPoint Presentation


PowerPoint Presenter on Left of Screen

When you’re using PowerPoint to enhance your presentation, like a prop or a microphone, it’s something else to worry about, something else that can go wrong. It becomes more important where you stand to prevent blocking the view and to prevent you wearing the slide on your face. And even more importantly, you still need to connect.

Where to Stand.

Blocking – Stand where you’re not blocking the view of your slides for any of your audience members. Frustrating your audience members is not good way to connect. I know it’s common sense, but it happens all the time.

LHS – People read from left to right. Have you ever noticed that many paintings and photos have the main aspect that draws your eyes in, situated in the lower left hand corner? I suggest that you keep the main focus on you when they’re not looking at your slide. That is,stand on the left hand side of the screen.

Using the Remote

Blank 1 – When you have finished showing a slide, blank the slide to return their attention to you and what you’re presenting. All remotes have a blank button and yes, you should always be using a remote. Alternatively have and show a blackened out slide, not a white one.

Blank 2 – So many presenters walk in front of their slides when walking across the stage, I suggest, don’t be one of them. Blank the slide, if you are going to move across the stage to connect with the audience. Often, it is just a bit of awareness and taking the time to blank it. Make sure when you’re preparing your speech you allow yourself that time (see The Power of Pace and Pause)

Your in the Picture – Talking about blanking your slides; depending on where the projector is situated, don’t stand in front of the screen with the projector light blinding you and with part of the image on your forehead. Even if you’re not being blinded (and if you are, that should be a hint right there) you’re casting a shadow on the slide. Needless to say, it’s not a good look.


The best way to connect with the audience is to make eye contact with them. If they can’t see you, you’re not connecting. It is difficult to make eye contact and connect when the room is dark. While it helps to see the slides, maybe settle on a compromised lighting arrangement.

Murphy’s Law

We all know variations of Murphy’s Law. Basically, if something can go wrong, it will. You need to prepare and plan for things going wrong. The adage, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is relevant here. Make sure you have thought about and prepared for and rehearsed how you are going to present without the PowerPoint. If you are using your own equipment, and I recommend it when it comes to the laptop, make sure you have spare parts like a projector light globe and the PowerPoint copy on you memory stick. Contact the relevant person well ahead of time to check what they have and haven’t got. Don’t make any assumptions and get there early.

Take Away

Chinese Takeaway Box

PowerPoint is a powerful tool to help make your point. But it’s only a tool. You are the presentation. Remember, what doesn’t add detracts and more is less.

Speak to Connect, to make that Difference.

Author: Henk van den Bergen

I have been speaking on Champagne for 20 years and decided to improve my speaking skills by joining Toastmasters International 13 year ago. I'm still a member today and I'm passionate about sharing what I’ve learned. I’m also proud to be the 1998 “Vin de Champagne Award” winner and being a three time Australian finalist in the International Speech contest.

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