- Author: Michael L. Poe
last in a series of 5 postings
"Make your next presentation naked!" That's the battle cry of the anti-PowerPoint cadre encouraging folks to stand up on their own without leaning on Microsoft's programming. That's one approach. My take is, if you feel you must show something, at least do it well.
Don't forget your audience.
- Keep things simple
- Be brief
- Use legible fonts
- Use good color choices
- Cut out the non-essential details
- Think visually
You must keep the text volume low in your visuals. Earlier, I posted that your audience can silently read 4-7X faster than you can read the slides aloud. So don't annoy them by doing that. Just put some keywords that remind you of the point on which you will expound. Those same keywords will be used by your audience to remember your point.
Chunk and focus. Instead of putting a lot of text on one slide, break it up and take 3 or 4 slides to present the same points. The audience wants that movement that comes with changing slides and keeps them visually stimulated.
Mix it up. Think visually about what will help you present the "who, what, when, where, why, and how" of each point you are making. Use photos, videos, drawings, maps, charts, and graphs.
Give your audience something to do besides just sitting there listening to you. I've covered this before but it will be key to your audience's retention; make sure you stimulate your learners' participation in your presentation by asking them questions, show them scenarios they can respond to, ask for suggestions, quiz them, etc. Make these moments visual. It is not about entertainment--it is about reaching your audience in ways we learn, through our multiple senses.
One last thing about PowerPoint: You should be able to communicate without it. If it is just a big-screen notepad, then you are doing it wrong. Instead, what you need is a notepad.
In this series:
- How did you screw up your last presentation?
- Accurately introduce the topic
- Plan your presentation learner-centrically
- Avoid covering too much
- Don't rely on PowerPoint. (this post, the last in this series)