Throughout my internet marketing career, I’ve presented 250+ times using PPT files, mostly in online webinars.
One thing I’ve often failed to do is get honest feedback from clients about what they liked, what they didn’t like, and how I could improve the presentation.
As I’ve been doing research on what makes the most effective power point presentations, I’ve realized that fortunately, I did SOME things right; unfortunately, I did MORE things wrong.
As you go through the following list of Do’s and Don’ts, think about a recent presentation you’ve given or one you’ve attended.
Did they follow these “10 Commandments of Power Point Presentations“?
5 Things TO DO In a Power Point Presentation
- THOU SHALT USE IMAGES, IMAGES, IMAGES: Drawings can really catch people’s attention. Charts and graphs seem to work better than tables. One of the best presentations I’ve been to was by Seth Godin where most of his slides were random pictures that helped tell a story. I don’t think I saw one single complete sentence on ANY of his slides.
- THOU SHALT EXPLAIN SLIDES: Well designed slides will captivate your audience but will require you to “fill in the blanks” with quality content. Help participants bridge the gap between what they see on the slide and what you intend to teach them.
- THOU SHALT USE SLOGANS, NOT PARAGRAPHS: I read one article that suggested slides have a maximum of 5 words. “Just Do It!”, “Be all you can be…”, slogans like these won’t require your audience to really read anything (and that’s the point). If you get a sense your audience is being forced to read your slides, eliminate words!
- THOU SHALT PROVIDE HARD-COPY HANDOUTS: If participants need information to take home, provide them with a print-out in hard copy afterwards instead of cluttering your slides with lots of detail. I strongly recommend the afterwards because if they have the entire presentation in front of them, you might as well just sit down and take turns reading out loud in a circle.
- THOU SHALT USE HAND-HELD NOTE CARDS: Unless you have practiced the presentation multiple times or have an amazing memory, hand-held note cards are a must. Not only are they small and non distracting, but they will help you avoid one of the “no-no’s” – reading your slides (aka turning your back to the audience to see where you’re at in the presentation).
- THOU SHALT NOT HAVE TOO MUCH INFO ON SLIDES: Don’t give away the farm! Keep your audience guessing, at least a little bit. They didn’t come to read your script on the big screen. If you need context, put it on your note cards and summarize down to 5 words or less on your slides.
- THOU SHALT AVOID AGENDA SLIDES: Agenda slides take away all the suspense. Your audience will pay a lot more attention if they can’t predict what you’ll say next. In addition, you’ll appear to be a lot more on top of your presentation and subject matter if you move through the content seamlessly.
- THOU SHALT NOT USE ANIMATED SOUNDS AND SLIDERS: Just the thought of some text flying in to the sound of a nuclear bomb reminds me of my 7th grade science teacher. He thought he was SO COOL, and we were all embarrassed for him, even as 12 year olds. Just think what your group of professionals will think if you follow the 7th grade teachers BAD EXAMPLE…
- THOU SHALT NOT READ SLIDES: Hopefully you’ve picked up on this point already (ie. note cards) but let me reiterate – reading your slides = ill-prepared. If you have to turn your back to the audience, look up, and verify you’re on the right section, you probably should have practiced a bit more before taking center stage. Referring back to Seth Godin’s presentation (which he’s probably given thousands of times): I don’t believe he ever really stopped to see what was on the big screen; the slides just seemed to flow as he was talking and most of them were images (funny, creative, informative) that tied right in with what he was sharing. His presentation kept me captivated but did not distract me from what he was really trying to say.
- THOU SHALT NOT SPEED: Slow Down! Pause between points that you want the people to think about. Force the audience to ask themselves questions. Force the audience to interact and give you answers to thought-provoking questions. Wait for answers before shouting them out yourself. BREATHE! Although you may feel you have so much to cover and so little time, you’ll need to slow down so your audience can actually comprehend what you’re trying to teach.
5 Things NOT TO DO in a Power Point Presentation
Now the question: How are you living up to the Power Point commandments?