Everyone knows the signs. The glazed expression, the droning sentences, the bored audience. These are all indications that someone is stuck in PowerPoint purgatory. Avoid this fate by consciously developing slides that are an asset rather than a detriment. Following are five tips that you can apply immediately to help you get out from behind your slides and engage your audience.
1. Use Titles Effectively: The titles of your slides can help your audience understand and follow your presentation. In general, slide titles should be concise and informative. Use short phrases with simple words. Avoid excessive jargon.
2. Use Fewer Words: Limit the words on your slides. Avoid long sentences because this encourages you to read the slide verbatim. Instead, craft short phrases that clearly communicate your key concepts.
3. Use Simple Diagrams: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Develop simple diagrams that outline the key points of your presentation. You will have to explain what the diagram means, which will force you to engage with your audience.
4. Highlight Important Concepts: Bold key words and phrases in your presentation. This will help you remember to discuss important concepts when presenting your slides.
5. Cut Your Slides: As with all forms of communication, shorter is best. When revising, don't be afraid to cut unnecessary slides. Use this rule of thumb to find the ideal length for your presentation: During the first revision, cut at least 25% of your slides; the second, delete 10%; the third, eliminate 5%.
Developing a concise, reader-friendly and effective presentation will help you avoid PowerPoint hell and impress your clients, colleagues and prospects.
(c) 2005 Fard Johnmar
Fard Johnmar is founder of Envision Solutions, L.L.C., a full-service healthcare marketing communications consulting firm. Envision Solutions provides innovative products and services to not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Envision Solutions' goal is to make our clients more efficient and successful. For more information about Envision Solutions please visit our Web site.