3 Dec 2007

PowerPoint crutches

If religion is the ‘crutch of humanity’ then PowerPoint is the crutch of presenters

Audiences are frequently confronted with volumes of overcrowded slides containing masses of information. For PowerPoint abusers, here’s a tip: the name PowerPoint actually has the word ‘point’ in it.

When giving a presentation, the idea is to use the slides as talking points or prompts. So cut to the chase. The slides can’t do the talking for you, and the audience is not going to thank you for reading them aloud. (They can read the slides for themselves). Presenters who abuse slides are probably using some alternate software called ‘boringpoint,’ because there’s certainly no power in their presentation.

PowerPoint is not communication. It is merely tool to support communication. Think of it like a microphone. Used well it can enhance a presentation. Employed poorly, it can destroy a presentation. It is a tool, not a crutch.

Top PowerPoint mistakes

 Too many slides – stay under double digits
 Text heavy slides – keep it to three or four bullet points only
 Detailed graphs – avoid altogether
 Yellow font – no one can read it
 Special effects – amateurish and distracting

Check out How NOT To Use PowerPoint by comedian Don McMillan on YouTube.


Colm said...

Great comments. Take a look at Apple's CEO, Steve Jobbs. Here's a great example of how to do it right. Add to the fact that he uses presentation slides correctly (of course he uses Keynote - Apple's answer to Powerpoint, rather than Powerpoint itself). He's also extremely well rehearsed so his presentations are always so so smooth. That is, he's figured it out that presentation isn't about the slides but about preparing for a strong presentation.
Here's a recent keynote address.

CJG blog team said...

Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more. If only more presenters took the time to polish their presentation. Apparently CEOs spend the vast majority of their time on communication. Of course not all of that is in front of an audience, delivering a presentation. But any CEO of a major company should be up to the task.

Aimée said...

And the mirror trick (talking to yourself in the mirror) is meant to be great for perfecting your presentation skills. You may feel like a fool doing it, but it works.