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  • 10 tips to improving your presentations

  • Powerpoint has become a tremendous tool for presentations.  However, how often do you see people presenting, with the actual Powerpoint presentation becoming the ultimate focal point?  It becomes the presentation and not a tool in YOUR presentation.  If that was actually the case, you may as well just email the audience the presentation, right?

    So how can you make sure you don’t fall into the same trap and use Powerpoint as a powerful partner in your important presentation?  Here’s 10 tips to help you get your presentation and the tool (Powerpoint) in the right balance:

    1. Build a story that’s relevant and engaging to your audience.  Try to have characters and a beginning, middle and end.  Powerpoint can help with visuals that create an emotive connection with your story.  Set up the call to action and make sure the end of the story focuses on that desired call to action or outcome.
    2. Your verbal presentation should provide the details while the Powerpoint focuses on the highlights and visual impact to create memorability.  Don’t have more than 4 or 5 bullets (maximum) on each Powerpoint slide.
    3. Be direct and concise – when last did you hear someone complain that the presentation was too short?
    4. Use facts and real-life examples that are real and relevant to your specific audience.  If your audiences change, so should you examples.
    5. Keep your Powerpoint slides simple and easy to read.  Less text, in bold simple fonts is preferred and more visual appeal is desireable.  However, don’t make your backgrounds too busy – it will hurt the readability.
    6. Never read what is on the slides – the audience can do that themselves.
    7. Face the audience when you present.  You should have the computer screen between you and the audience so that you know at all times what is on the main screen behind you.  By doing that you can always refer to something on the screen without turning around.
    8. Use a laser pointer if you have to refer to something on the screen.  And make sure you have a remote device to advance your slides.  Always moving over to the computer and clicking on a button to advance the slides takes the focus away from your message.
    9. Keep to the time that you were given for your presentation.  Make sure you practice ahead of time to see how long your presentation normally takes.  And leave some time for questions and answers.
    10. Don’t give your audience you Powerpoint slide deck ahead of your presentation – it will often prevent them from focusing on you, the presenter.  And ask yourself – do they really need a copy of the full slide deck anyway?  Maybe just a quick summary of the pertinent points will be a more effective and relevant handout at the end.

    Neville Pokroy from the marketing company Mastermind Solutions consults in the area of strategic marketing planning, as well as in the development and execution of marketing strategies and plans. He assists companies who require marketing expertise to plan and fully execute marketing programs. If you want to have more choice in marketing your business and in setting yourself apart, and increase the odds of improving company performance, visit our website.