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Seven Ways to Create a Persuasive PowerPoint

Posted on April 15, 2011 by Leslie Dickson

easier to sleep

Your Point of Power Is NOT In PowerPoint!

I often hear business people expressing the absolute need and expectation for PowerPoint in their presentations. That’s fine.  Just remember that slides don’t make presentations.  You do. The over-use of PowerPoint slides in recent years has greatly reduced the power of the presenter and the presentation.

Are you giving your power over to PowerPoint? 

Do You:

  • 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?
  • Overload your slides with all your information and presentation content?
  • Sit, while you direct everyone else to follow along with a screen in front of each individual?
  • Lose your enthusiasm toward your topic when you present with PowerPoint slides?
  • Stand behind a podium in order to have access to the equipment?
  • Need to have a slide presentation because they are the take-away documents for your audience?

Even one yes to the above questions indicates you’re 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 triggers a low groan from most of our business associates, who are all too familiar with this type of painful experience. Heads nod in agreement that this tool doesn’t need to be a part of every presentation.

Where, when and how can PowerPoint be effective? 

Keep these thoughts in mind:

  1. Really look at your audience.  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. To engage people with you and your ideas make eye contact.
  2. Have to turn your back to the audience? Stop speaking until you are facing them again, and be sure to maintain an open posture. Otherwise, you risk not being heard, losing your audience’s connection and their interest in you and what you are saying.
  3. Leverage your slides as the “aha” factor. Think of them as a billboard and not a magazine ad. With a glance, your audience gets the message and turns 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. Don’t be 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. Sidestep the podium. Keep your body open to your audience for a more powerful connection. A podium blocks this connection and limits your ability to express yourself freely.
  6. Don’t use a PowerPoint presentation deck as a hand-out. It’s a tempting time-saver, isn’t it?  But don’t do it.  While the handouts need the written interpretation of the data and graphs, the slide show should let the presenter give the interpretation.
  7. Think twice before using PowerPoint. Some people (and their companies) think PowerPoint is a necessity for credibility. Not so. Will it really add to your presentation, or are you using it because everyone else does or because you want an outline on the screen to use for notes?  Try this process. First, plan what you want to say, organize and outline it, and be sure your message points have power. Then decide if and where visual clarification is necessary. Your presentation – and your audience – will be better for it.

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