death by powerpoint

Are you guilty of Death By PowerPoint?

PowerPoint is an invaluable, powerful and exciting tool for creating presentation visual aids that transform average speakers into masterful presenters. Or is it? Some slides have been so dreadful and tortuous over the years that the phrase ‘death by PowerPoint’ was coined. Let’s make sure you don’t cause ‘death by PowerPoint’ when you present. Let’s make sure you use your slides to set yourself up to be the best presenter you can be!

Try the, ‘Will my slides cause death?' test:

1. Do you lack confidence as a presenter? Would you be horrified at the thought of presenting to an audience without the use of visual aids?

2. Are you guilty of using PowerPoint slides to take the focus off yourself?

3. Do you use PowerPoint slides as convenient palm-cards? Do you find yourself looking back at your slides to remember what to say?

4. Do you use PowerPoint to write your presentation?

5. Do you try to use the entire functionality of PowerPoint as a way of improving your presentation? (Have you even sent your Personal or Executive Assistant on a PowerPoint training program?)

If you find yourself answering ‘YES’ to these questions, then there is a good chance you have been relying on PowerPoint slides to carry you as a presenter, rather than simply as a visual aid to highlight the key messages for your audience. You may have great technical skill in designing visual aids, but it may well be at the expense of connecting properly with your audience.

What is the purpose of slides? What should they look like?

The purpose of slides is to reinforce your key messages, not to remind you, the presenter, what to say next. Slides have the potential to create a visual, kinesthetic and maybe even an auditory connection between your audience and your message. In other words, they help stimulate your audience in a variety of ways that will help them to remember your content.

I have listed my 10 tips for designing slides to help you to be a powerful presenter who uses slides as an aid to engage and influence your audience.

Top 10 tips for designing beautiful slides!

1. Dark text on a light background.

2. Minimum 30pt font.

3. Times New Roman or Verdana font style.

4. Reduce the number of slides to a minimum.

5. Replace words with pictures as often as possible.

6. Colour code graphs so people see the point of the graph easily from a distance.

7. Use beautiful clever images, not overused, tired ones. Try:

8. Ensure your transitions from one slide to the next don’t distract.

9. Sound clips should add value not distract from the message.

10. Don’t use underline, italics, bold or shadow on your fonts. Only use key words on your slides and change the colour of the font if you must highlight a word.

© Michelle Bowden 2020.  Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media.

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