Adding Power to your Points
We deliver loads of presentations, and often see that if we’d been involved earlier we could have really enhanced the communication process. It’s not surprising, as often the creators are incredibly busy people who are experts in other areas, and the novelty of PowerPoint™ has pretty much worn off nowadays.
Here are some insights which could help:
Why are you doing this?
It’s tempting to simply open up PowerPoint™ (or Keynote) and get stuck in at slide one. However, since PowerPoint™ is linear, there is a risk of focusing on detail and not the big picture.
Make time to plan your presentation and objective. There is a huge difference between inspiring and informing your audience, and your use of slides should reflect this. How many points do you want the audience to remember? If the answer is one or two, then maybe slides aren’t the answer?
Slip from Slides?
When everyone else is using slides sometimes the best way to get noticed is to not use any presentation at all. People may be wondering “Where are the slides?” but they’ll pay attention to what you have to say. Here are some situations when we should stop and think before using PowerPoint™:
When you need to project leadership, PowerPoint™ divides your audience’s attention – should they look at you or at the screen? They’ll see you as an instructor – whose aim is to convey information.
Right Brain – wrong image?
PowerPoint™ is great for displaying data, appealing to people’s rational minds, but if you need to inspire them to take action, catalysing their imaginations and emotions, give bullets the bullet, they should be rare exceptions. Images add emotional impact to your powerful stories and aid recall.
When you want to engage your audience’s participation, starting a PowerPoint™ presentation, tells your audience that you’ve set the content, scope, direction, and sequence of your session, and that their part is to sit back and watch. If you want your audience to be actively involved, invite their ideas and creativity, even if doing so means that you aren’t “in control” of what happens.
The deck will be emailed to you later
Slides can train the audience not to take notes, maybe not even to pay attention – Will they watch it later? We know the answer. People who take notes remember the material better than those who don’t. And people who actually watch sessions remember them much better than those who don’t.
Sometimes, PowerPoint™ can train the presenter to be lazy. Why bother rehearsing when they’ll simply read the PowerPoint slides? This is a recipe for a dull session. Could it be that it has become a crutch to prop up ill-prepared presenters, leading to a dread of PowerPoint™?
It can add Power to your Points
If you’ve identified that PowerPoint™ is the right approach, then don’t go into detail creating pixel perfect slides straight away. We recommend sketching your story in simple black & white, then sharing your rough slides with colleagues. Polished slides are really hard to dump, and you can lose sight of the big picture with your head down in the data.
Use PowerPoint™ when – and only when – it makes sense, when it will contribute to the impact of your presentation. And of course, if you really want to make an impact, don’t be afraid to turn to presentation specialists (like us) to make it really shout and sing. Will you ever know the cost of poor communication on your next presentation?