“Death by PowerPoint” is very much alive and well.
It describes the experience of an audience being assaulted by a presentation that contains too many slides and too much data or text on each of those slides.
PowerPoint is so easy to use and so flexible in terms of what we can do with it, that it’s become the go-to tool for producing presentation handouts. But, please, don’t put your handouts up on screen!
Have you ever killed with PowerPoint?
Fear not. There are a few simple things you can do to make your slide decks engaging without losing the ability to fully convey important information.
1. Use graphics or pictures to represent data.
It’s easier to make an impact with data when the numbers are graphically presented, as in a bar graph, than with columns of numbers and raw data.
2. Limit text to the “5 x5” rule.
This means five lines or bullet points, maximum five words per line. You have about 25 words to play with in the body of the slide. This word count excludes the title text.
3. Divide your presentation time in half to get your maximum number of slides.
For example, if you have 60 minutes for a presentation, you should top out at around 30 slides. If you can’t spend at least two minutes on a slide, perhaps it should go into a handout or the appendix instead of on screen.
“But, what about all my data?,” you ask.
Consider presenting only a subset of your full handout package and/or slides. Tell your audience that you’re showing a subset of the full deck and that you can drill down anytime, on any topic they wish.
Use the “Hide Slide” feature in PowerPoint to keep the full set of slides hidden, but readily available to show. Hitting the letter “H” will reveal the hidden slide(s) immediately following your last slide. You can have an infinite number of hidden slides behind any one slide in your deck.
Place extraneous slides that you don’t ever plan to present – but do want to make available – in the appendix of your handout.
Using these techniques helps to ensure you won’t overwhelm your audience, but instead keep them engaged and focused on your message.
What does the hit on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit tell us about how to sell in a virtual setting? Actually, something very important.
Before we break down how this show teaches us the key to virtual selling let’s look at the backstory.
Customers coming to a user conference aren’t there for the fanfare, they’re there for the expertise. If you’re an expert speaking at a user conference, you’re highly knowledgeable and passionate about your topic, but you might not be an expert at speaking in front of an audience. Here are five practical tips that you can implement right away for any upcoming speaking event.
Read the blog and learn how to make your next team offsite your most productive yet.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
You know your scientists, engineers, and technology experts are the best around. They're proven innovators and solution providers within your organization. Why, then, is presenting to a business audience such a common challenge for technical professionals?
Learn 11 tactics your technical team can use right now to make them more effective and influential communicators for any business decision maker.
Admittedly, I've struggled to find a reliable way to help people reduce their public speaking anxiety, despite years of trying. I’ve advised people to do just about anything I could think of that might help, e.g., breathing, meditation. While I haven't found the thing that works every time for every person, there is one technique that seems to be more effective than most. Even if you've already found something that works well for you, this technique is worth trying out.
Imagine being asked to present to your entire company tomorrow. Does the idea of it make you nervous? You might be tempted to get right to work, writing every word down and committing them to memory. Now, what if I said you couldn’t memorize your talk? Whoa, wait a minute. You wonder, “How am I supposed to remember what to say?”
Find out why memorizing is a terrible idea and what you should do instead to prepare for your next presentation.
Be sure to set your speakers up for success. Read this week's blog to find out how.
Executive briefings. Big sales meetings. Project pitch meetings. What do they have in common? The stakes are sky high. There’s a lot riding on them for you and your company — revenue, reputation, productivity. Do your people have, both, the presentation AND facilitation skills to ensure their success?
Read the blog to find out and to get your free Discussion Leader Self-Assessment Tool and Facilitator Checklist.
Memory almost full. Imagine that warning flashing brightly on the forehead of every audience member. A successful presentation isn’t just about the speaker’s dynamic energy or their confident manner in front of an audience. Without compelling, easy to follow content, it doesn’t matter how comfortable you are in the spotlight. You and your topic will quickly be forgotten. So how do you ensure lasting, memorable impact? Learn how to be remembered by leveraging the ancient, globally relevant, and scientifically proven rule of three to focus your content, motivate your listeners, and make your executive presence shine.
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