Studies show that the number one reason for listeners to be bothered during presentations are badly constructed PowerPoints. People get frustrated with PowerPoints containing too much movement and animation, an unreadable font or complicated graphics. In other words: many PowerPoints are simply too busy.
During the seminar "From PowerPoint to Personal Image" at the EMIF-fair in Brussels, Sylvie Verleye explained how to solve this problem. Companies have to remember one device when making a PowerPoint: presentations are all about the speaker, not about the PowerPoint. Presentations are meant to listen to, not to read from a screen.
4 tips for a presentation that makes the audience listen
Title slides, including the title of your presentation, your name and the date, are usually distracting, as they don't allow the speaker to introduce him/herself. Therefore, you should start your PowerPoint with your first important slide: your key message, a quote, etc. - but you don't want to show that slide immediately to the audience. PowerPoint included the B-key to solve this problem. If you press B (or Z for zwart and N for noir), your screen turns dark. This way, you can introduce yourself at ease on a black slide.
PowerPoint slides shouldn't contain too much text or bullet points: they should show an image, quote, graphic or one-liner that supports what the speaker is explaining. A good tip is the 10-20-30 rule of the excellent speaker Guy Kawasaki:
- Maximum 10 slides PowerPoint
- Maximum 20 minutes presentation
- Minimal font 30 in the PowerPoint
This rule makes sure that the listeners focus on the speaker, instead of on the PowerPoint, and it guarantees that the listeners keep concentration until the end of the presentation.
In general, there are three reasons for speakers to put too much information on their slides:
1. They are afraid to forget something - this can be avoided by preparing properly
2. They want to impress the audience
3. They plan to use the slides as a report after the presentation - this can be solved by using notes, via the tabs file > publish > put PowerPoint into Word
The end of a presentation should contain three parts:
1. The summary or conclusion
2. Q&A - but don't make a Q&A-slide with a funny question mark
3. The closure of the circle - if you start your presentation with anecdote, refer to it at the end. The best way to end your presentation, is to give the audience one reminder: the key message of your presentation.
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