For better or worse, Microsoft PowerPoint has become our default method of framing much of what we present visually to others. While PowerPoint brings many advantages to presenters, it can also serve as a crutch when we don't utilize it well to enhance our presentations. In this episode, I discuss some of the common failures leaders make with PowerPoint and a many of tips you can put into practice immediately in order to enhance the use of PowerPoint (or any other visual medium) in your presentations to others.
I mentioned early in the show that there is a wonderful, stand-up comedy bit from Don McMillan that captures much of what is wrong with how we use PowerPoint. Here's the video:
Rule #1 – The best PowerPoint is one you don't need.
Be sure that PowerPoint adds value to the presentation – if it doesn't, drop it. Susan Cain's TED talk is a wonderful example of a fantastic presentation that didn't need (and doesn't use) PowerPoint.
Talk to the audience – not the slides
- To do this, use the 6×6 or 7×7 rule
- Get a screen in front of you (called a confidence monitor) if you can
Feature images rather than text – Steve Jobs was a master at this. Check out his presentation below that introduced the iPhone to the world for the first time. Even if you just watch the first few minutes, you'll get a clear picture of how using images on slides can be far more powerful that text (and yes, I know that he's using Keynote and not PowerPoint)
Use colors and theme that match the message
- Colors – use contrast
- Darker room? Darker slides
- Lighter room? Lighter slides
- Free themes available at the Microsoft Office template gallery
A few quick tips:
- Keep animations consistent
- Do a dry run – and if it fails in real life, be done with it
- “B” blanks out slides and “W” key whites out a slide
- # key and enter brings you to that slide (i.e. pressing “1” and then “Enter” on the keyboard takes you to the first slide when in PowerPoint show)
- Get comfortable with a wireless presenter before you use it – here's the Logitech Wireless Presenter I use and recommend
How to Lead People with Different Personalities Preferences is our next series!
Thank you to Pete Serrato, Andrew Monaghan, and Nicholas for liking our Facebook page.
Also, a special thank you to Michael Wagner for writing an iTunes review for our show!
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Wherever you are in the world, whatever is on your agenda today, take one idea from this show to engage and develop someone you lead.