People often use technology in their presentations, but all too often the technology, not the presenter, becomes the star of the show. You’ll want to be sure to limit the use of slides to a supporting role. Don’t become just a voice for a group of colorful pictures and other visuals. There is an art to using computer graphics, slides, flip charts, and supporting documents. Make them support your performance. Their skillful use will enhance it, not dominate it.
Here are a few tips on how to maintain control over your PowerPoint presentation.
Be Simple. Don’t overload your slides with elements, logos and colors. Use the Excellence in Speaking Institute rule of 5s and 6s. No more than five lines on a slide and each line should be no more than six words.
Be Consistent. Each page should have an identity (name, company, contact information) and it should be consistent from page to page. If you are using a logo, keep it small and maintain a consistent size throughout the presentation. Do the same for your font sizes, too. A sans serif font like Arial or Tahoma is easiest to read on-screen. One place you can vary is in your charts. Don’t just use one type of chart all the way through. Drop in the appropriate type of chart or graph to drive home important financial information.
Be Error-Free. Make sure you proofread your slides in order to ensure you don’t have typos or silly mistakes. Have someone else take a look at them too. While proofreading look for items you can edit out. Tighter is better.
Be Prepared. Set up your equipment early. Place your screen to your left, the audience’s right. People read right to left and you – not the slides – will remain the focus if you are on their left. Review your slides one last time. Do a dry run with your slides. This gets you comfortable with transitions.
Be In Charge. Face the audience. Never talk to the screen. This means that ample practice is imperative. Also, adjust your laptop so you can easily glance down to review points you wish to make.
Remember, audio visual aids are for your support. You are the show. The slides should not replace the human element.
If you’re serious about advancing your skills and making an investment in yourself, we invite you to our Excellence in Speaking Institute. Classes are filling up quickly so don’t delay! Visit this page to read feedback from our graduates about their experience.