Tips for Giving the Best PowerPoint Presentation
We’ve all been there; in a work meeting, witnessing a dull presentation, or among the audience attending the driest pitch event. When caught in such scenarios, you usually can’t help but count the minutes, so you can stop pretending to pay attention. Now imagine if the boot is on the other foot and you’re the one giving a presentation. Is that an experience you may like your audience to deal with? We bet not!
The bottom line is, you want to prepare adequately for your presentations to leave the audience wanting more of your content. In particular, PowerPoint presentations should be overwhelmingly engaging and memorable. But beyond that, you want your audience to not only remember the presentation but also support or implement the message you’re endeavoring to put across.
But how do you realize that feat? We’ve prepared this comprehensive post to give valuable insights and tips for making your PowerPoint presentations effective and memorable. So let’s dive right in!
The Top Five Tips to Give a Killer PowerPoint Presentation
Engage and Connect with Your Audience
A PowerPoint presentation is not a speech and certainly not a monologue. It’s in your best interests that you try to engage and connect with your audience as naturally as possible to drive the message home. After all, the presentation is designed to address the audience’s needs, not the presenter’s.
So how do you engage and connect with your audience? For starters, you want to ask questions every often, but be careful not to overdo it. And while at it, avoid rhetorical questions. Instead, as real questions and give the audience time to respond. You can also engage in a little QandA session in-between the presentation to ascertain that you’re on the same page with your audience.
The other tactic for giving an effective presentation while keeping everyone engaged is y working both with the topic and your audience. You want to master how to relate to whomever you’re communicating with to get through to them. What’s the audience’s viewpoint, and what do they have in common regarding the topic of discussion? Use that knowledge to tweak your presentation in an emotionally appealing manner. That way, you’ll have an easy time convincing your audience and inspiring action in them.
Use the Slides Appropriately
Ever heard of the 10-20-30 rule for PowerPoint Presentations? Well, it’s quite a simple rule pioneered by one Guy Kawasaki. It states that a PowerPoint presentation should contain no more than 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and use a font size of no less than 30 point.
The first and second rules are particularly crucial to this case because you want to keep the slides simple and the presentation considerably short, less the audience loses interest. Cluttered slides can be confusing and distracting to the audience, as they may find it challenging to tell which part of the slide to focus on or whether to pay attention to you at the expense of reading the slides.
Other slides best practices to keep in mind include:
- Leverage the slide master feature to create consistent and straightforward designs.
- On top of limiting the number of slides, you want to give your audience enough time to read every detail. We recommend passing one slide per minute.
- Ensure that the texts and images on each slide are large enough and visible to the audience sitting in the back row seats.
- DO NOT read directly from your slides; they’re a preserve for the audience and not the presenter.
- Be sure to face your audience without speaking directly to the slides.
Use Images, But Sparingly
We’ve all heard the adage; a picture is worth a thousand words. But as much as you want to break the text monotony and make your PowerPoint presentations visually appealing, DO NOT overdo it. You want to use images only when they add value to the point you’re trying to put across or when they make a seemingly ambiguous point more sensible.
And while at it, please refrain from using PowerPoint built-in clipart. Anything below Office 2003 has been used severally, and the chances are that your audience has interacted with such images already, rendering them clichés. Consider exploring Office 2007 and other non-office programs, as they contain some amazing clipart that not so many people are familiar with.
But let’s face it; the entire idea of clipart has already run its course, and it’s not as appealing anymore. Luckily, the internet has tons of readily accessible graphical images that you can use in the right setting to drive your points home. Below are a few imaging best practices to remember:
- Keep all images the same size
- Use a few large images instead of several small images
- Limit the number of images on each slide
- Avoid flashy images unless they relate directly to the slide
- Confirm that the images are well arranged, sized, and relevant on a projection screen before the presentation
Body Language Matters
We’ve talked about facing your audience when making your PowerPoint presentation (rather than reading directly from the slides) to keep the engagement levels high. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; non-verbal communication is just as critical as the actual presentation. Below are a few body languages to use and the ones to avoid in your presentation:
Body Languages to Use
- Make and maintain eye contacts with your audience
- Maintain a good posture, standing straight with your shoulders back
- Move naturally across the stage and among the audience too, when necessary
- Use your gestures appropriately without being suggestive
- Place your hands on either side of your body so you can effortlessly make gestures
Body Languages to Avoid
- Do not pace around the stage
- Do not cross your arms
- Do not hold your hands behind your back
- Do not put your hands on your pocket or slouch
Rehearsal is Crucial
Would you rather make mistakes during rehearsals and correct them or wait until the actual presentation to mess up? If not for anything else, you want to rehearse for your PowerPoint presentation to:
- Set and get accustomed to the rhythm of your impending presentation
- Note down the points you wish to emphasize to your audience
- Notice the aspects of your presentation that work and those that don’t, tweaking them accordingly
- Boost your confidence, ensuring that you’re familiar with your materials, so you don’t keep referring to the slides
And that’s how you give a killer PowerPoint presentation! Remember, it all boils down to working with your audience, using slides correctly, getting smart with the images, and leveraging both verbal & non-verbal communication. Implement these tips and best practices, and we guarantee you your audience will crave your next PowerPoint presentation.
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