Business professionals spend a reasonable amount of time giving presentations communicating new and existing ideas, proposals for investors, clients, etc. PowerPoint presentations have become a ubiquitous tool for these varying types of business presentations. At times though, I find that the technical aspect of the tool gets overused, misused, and the audience tends to walk away with an unclear message of the presentation. Here are some solutions to assist with getting your message to land with your audience when using PowerPoint:
Just like a speech, you must have an opening, body and conclusion. First, determine how much time you have for your presentation. Next, create the outline of your discussion. After you create your outline, you create the content within your presentation. This is a sample of how a 30-minute presentation would be structured:
Slide 1: Title (1 minute)
Slide 2: Agenda (2 minutes)
Slide 3 – 9: Body (Keep it focused on your audience) (14 minutes)
Slide 10: Summary (Recap Presentation) (3 minutes)
Q&A (black screen): 10 minutes
**20 minutes for you presentation which gives you on average two-minutes per slide and 10 minutes for Q&A.
Here are some key takeaways when using PowerPoint for your business presentation:
• Rehearse your content
• Use it to support your topic/ discussion
• Summarize the slide or the main point
• Take time to introduce the material
• Keep your bullet points to 5 per slide
• Keep eye contact with your audience
• Use graphics and illustrations that support your topic
• Avoid jargon
• Allow enough time to set up and check your equipment. (make handouts as a back-up if equipment does not work)
• Use animation (it takes away from your talk and tends to distract your audience)
• Read from the slides
• Forget what’s in it for the audience (WIIFM)
• Place your back to the audience.
• Cruise through slides. If information is not relevant, then don’t display it. (unless giving handouts)
• Panic if the equipment fails
Black or White
Another way to add value to your presentation is the “B” or “W” key. When you need to elaborate on a point during your presentation and would like to take the focus off of the screen and back to you, the “B” key makes your screen black and the “W” that’s right it makes the screen white. Not shift or control key needs to be used in combination with the “B” or “W” key.
After the summary slide, this is great time for Q&A. Use the “B” or “W” key to make your screen blank, so that people know you have completed your presentation and to focus their attention on you.
There are a few ways to make notes on what you would like to say on each of your slides. The easy way is to print your entire presentation and write notes on each page. You can also click the View menu, click Notes Page. The notes section will appear under your slide. You can type notes in this section. To view your printed notes, click on the File menu, click Print. Under Print what, select notes pages and click okay. You now have a clean presentation with notes to do your practice run.
Note: When you display your presentation, the audience will not see you notes section.
Keep It Simple
While all the bells and whistles may look nice, keep in mind the message you’re looking to convey to your audience. Outline the message you want the audience to walk away with at the end of your presentation. The bells and whistles will not sell an idea that has not been thoroughly researched and thought out. Keep the presentation simple and focused directly to your topic.