Are you giving your power over to PowerPoint?
Put a check mark by each item you have a "yes" answer to:
√ Read the presentation from the slides along with your audience, keeping your back to the audience while you look at or read from the screen?
√ Load your slides with all of your information and presentation content?
√ Lose your enthusiasm towards your topic when you present with PowerPoint slides?
√ Stand behind a lectern in order to have access to the equipment?
√ Use your PowerPoint as your notes?
√ Use the same PowerPoint slides for your presentation and your take-away handout?
Even just one yes to the above questions indicates you are losing powerful ground with your audience. You could, quite possibly be found guilty of "death by PowerPoint”.
More and more, the mere mention of PowerPoint results in a low groan from our participants who are all too familiar with this type of painful experience. Heads will nod in agreement with the idea that this often-over-used tool does not need to be a part of every presentation.
To assist you with knowing where, when and how to use PowerPoint effectively, keep these thoughts in mind:
1. In order for your audience to be engaged with you and your ideas, you will need to take the initiative to really look at them. Reading from slides keeps your focus on the content – not your audience. No matter how well prepared your words and graphs are, they will not connect you with your audience.
2. Whenever you turn your back to the audience, stop speaking until you are facing them again and maintain an open posture. Otherwise, you risk not being heard and lose the value of the audience’s connection and their interest in you and what you are saying.
3. Leverage your slides as the “aha” factor for your audience. Think of them like they are a billboard and not a magazine ad. This allows your audience to glance at your slide, get the message and turn their attention right back to you. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words but a picture of a thousand words isn’t worth much at all.
4. Be careful not to become an anonymous narrator of a slide show. Although your slides are a vital component of your presentation, keep in mind you are the star of the show. Let your visuals support you – not the other way around.
5. Whenever possible keep your body open to your audience for a more powerful connection with them. A lectern blocks this all-important connection and limits your ability to express yourself freely.
6. PowerPoint slides and handout documents perform different functions. The handouts need the written interpretation of the data and graphs. The slide show should allow you the presenter to give the interpretation.
PowerPoint is not necessary in every presentation for you to have credibility. Don’t use visual aids just because everyone else does, or to get your outline up where you can use it for notes. Visual aids are meant to be a benefit to the audience, not a crutch for the speaker. Use visual aids wisely and judiciously. Plan on what you want to say, organize it, outline it and then decide if and where visual clarification is necessary. This will ensure your points will have power.
For more information I invite you to sign up for a course on Persuasive PowerPoint.
Debbie Darling - © 2013 – The Presentation Pros™