Enhancing Your Presentation using PowerPoint
PowerPoint, or any other equivalent program, is a powerful tool to help you organize your presentations.
) 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.
) 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.
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 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.
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.
Check out the video below that inspired the images directly below.
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).
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 1 Don’t show all three points bold. Don’t show all three images in full. It crowds the slide.
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 2 This slide clearly highlights the second point and image, however still making you aware of the 1st & 3rd points.
Slide 3 Displaying the last and third point.
Slide 4 At the end you have the option to display all the points and images as a recap.
Mix your font styles. What do I mean by font styles? Well, have you heard of the font “Serif”? The circled aspects are typical of the Serif font style. Then 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 Plain: 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.
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.
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.
The example on the right just doesn’t work, yet I see it on webpages, blogs and PowerPoint slides everywhere.
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.
For clarity you need to be clear on the point you are trying to illustrate. What doesn’t add detracts and less is more.
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.
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.
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.