Stop the powerpoint abuse


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Created by Anders Lindgren. PowerPoint presentations are a major communications tool, but like any tool it can be used wisely or poorly. Some presentations would actually have been much better if the PowerPoint presentation (or abuse thereof) didn’t get in the way. Here is how to avoid the most common mistakes.

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Stop the powerpoint abuse

  1. 1. Stop the PowerPoint abuse Here’s how to avoid the eight most common mistakes 1 20/11/2013 
  2. 2. Learn to use PowerPoint wisely PowerPoint presentations are a major communications tool, but like any tool it can be used wisely or poorly Some presentations would actually have been much better if the PowerPoint presentation (or abuse thereof) didn’t get in the way 20/11/2013 2 
  3. 3. The eight most common mistakes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 20/11/2013 3  Too little connection with the audience Too many irrelevant messages Too many things on the screen Too many bad slide designs Too many boring headlines Too many words Too many fonts No imagination
  4. 4. 1. Too little connection with the audience Here’s how to engage your listeners 4 20/11/2013 
  5. 5. Never turn your back on the audience It is a cardinal sin. Let me repeat. Do not turn your back on the audience and read your slides. There is no quicker route to an audience that will ignore you. If you need notes, keep them in front of you. 
  6. 6.  Use emotions Emotions are contagious: If you engage and connect with the audience, they will connect and engage with you. 20/11/2013 6 Konfidensielt
  7. 7.  Use eye-contact It is your most powerful tool for influencing people. To connect with someone, simply meet their eyes. It is the same between you and audience. If you need to point at the slides behind you, do it in such a way that you maintain contact with the audience. 20/11/2013 7 Konfidensielt
  8. 8.  Use the power of your voice It is the second most important tool you possess. Vary both the volume, depth, tone and speed. Pauses of silence can be very dramatic – use them. Variations in your voice help to create interest. Listening to a continuous flat tone works like a sleeping pill. 20/11/2013 8 Konfidensielt
  9. 9.  Read the audience >50% of communication is non-verbal [1] Their body language will show you if you have their interest or not. If you see they are ready for a break, take it. 1. Source: Mehrabian, Albert (1981). Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN 0-534-00910-7. 20/11/2013 9 Konfidensielt
  10. 10. Use stories and anecdotes  Master the ancient art of storytelling. Learn to intertwine personal stories and anecdotes into your presentation. They are more captivating than any slide you can ever make.
  11. 11. 2. Too many irrelevant messages Here’s how to create interest and be meaningful 11 20/11/2013 
  12. 12. People’s bullshit meters are hypersensitive  We live in the age of information overload. There is just too much information for us to absorb. To cope, people’s bullshit meters have become hypersensitive. It takes them only ½ second to decide if something is relevant or not. 20/11/2013 12
  13. 13. How do you arouse and keep people’s interest? There is one simple answer: BE RELEVANT Learn about their needs and wants. Relate the messages to their needs. Tell stories about real people. Especially people they can relate to, and do it in a personal, warm and human way. 20/11/2013 13 
  14. 14.  “Personally relevant information which is communicated in a credible, clear, warm and human manner, is most effective.” 20/11/2013 14
  15. 15. 3. Too many things on the screen Here’s how to be crystal clear 15 20/11/2013 
  16. 16. Keep your slides simple Don’t let the slides get in your way. Focus on key points and facts. Too much information on the screen is difficult to process. If you have a complex Excel table put it in a handout or simplify the information. 20/11/2013 16 
  17. 17.  Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful - John Maeda 20/11/2013 17
  18. 18. 4. Too many bad slide designs Here’s how to create stunning slides 18 20/11/2013 
  19. 19. No excuses for bad slides Audiences have little respect for presenters that lack design skills or don’t use resources to help them create better looking slides. 20/11/2013 19 
  20. 20. How do you create aesthetically pleasing slides? Apply the Rule of Thirds. It is a simplified version of Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio. It is used everywhere by artists and designers. If you look closely , you will also discover it everywhere in nature. 20/11/2013 20 
  21. 21. There are two key points to the Rule of Thirds 1. Make the slide appear dynamic by placing your main subject close to the four powerpoints. 2. Avoid placing subjects in the center rectangle – it tend to make the slide uninteresting. 20/11/2013 21 
  22. 22. Applying the “Rule of Thirds” Notice how the picture and the text avoid the middle and centre rectangle. Subjects and text are placed directly on or in proximity of the powerpoints. 20/11/2013 22  Most cameras come equipped with a grid system based on the Rule of Thirds to help you compose better pictures.
  23. 23. Applying the “Rule of Thirds” Placing subjects by any of the four powerpoints simply improves the dynamics of the slide layout. 20/11/2013 23  Subjects placed exactly in the middle often make a layout look less dynamic and uninteresting.
  24. 24. Applying the “Rule of Thirds” Subjects, figures and points are placed directly on powerpoints to create a dynamic layout 20/11/2013 24 
  25. 25. Ready made Grid Copy them into your presentation to test if your slides fulfills the “Rule of Thirds” 20/11/2013 25  Try to place subjects at one of these four circles. Avoid the center rectangle
  26. 26. Learn to work with images The crop-function in PowerPoint is especially useful. Use it to trim and remove unwanted portions of pictures or isolate a specific part. 20/11/2013 26 
  27. 27. Stay away from animations, clipart or cartoons  Only use simple slide transitions such as cut or fade. Animations distract attention and should be avoided. Avoid using generic clipart. It will make your presentation look outdated. Do not use cartoons for jokes – they’re fun, but can easily be misunderstood. 20/11/2013 27
  28. 28. 5. Too many boring headlines Here’s how to write headlines that get’s the point across 28 20/11/2013 
  29. 29. Shy away from the common boring headlines  They don’t help your audience understand your slides and get your key messages. 20/11/2013 29
  30. 30.  Say what you want to say in the headline People should be able to get all key messages by just reading the headlines. They should provide people with the highlights of your messages. If you follow this fundamental rule your ideas will come across so clearly, that they almost jump off the slide. WEAK 20/11/2013 30 STRONG
  31. 31. Take the “Filter Test” used by professionals  Go through your presentation and pretend you can’t read or see anything except for your headlines as shown here. Where you able to get the main ideas and messages? If not, rewrite the headlines. Try to make them fit on one line. 20/11/2013 31
  32. 32. 6. Too many words Here’s how to wow them with fewer words 20/11/2013 32 
  33. 33. Here is a typical blah blah slide  The goal of a presentation is communicate effectively with an audience in whatever means is appropriate for the situation. If your slides look like this, you are abusing Powerpoint, because your are changing a speech to a reading exercise. Audiences will read this as soon as it appears on the screen. Because audiences can’t read and listen at the same time, they will read the slide first and then come back to listening to you. Because you’re still on bullet number one and your audience has read the entire thing, the need for you as a presenter is gone. You’ll never catch up what your audience already knows by reading ahead. 20/11/2013 33
  34. 34. Each slide should have one main point Make it even stronger by stating it in the headline. Use images to reinforce your main point. But only use images that are relevant. 20/11/2013 34 
  35. 35. If you must use bullets, follow the 6 x 6 rule 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. That means six bullet points And six words pr. bullet No need to write all you want to say Your slides are not your notes Try to write about 36 words This text is 36 words 20/11/2013 35 
  36. 36. The best slides have no bullets – only pictures 20/11/2013 36 
  37. 37. 7. Too many fonts Here’s how to get the fonts working for you 20/11/2013 37 
  38. 38.  Mixing too many fonts is distracting It makes it difficult for the audience to process. Stick with only one font family. For instance Ariel. In general stick to two variations of the font, like Arial and Ariel Bold. Use a third font for emphasis. For instance Ariel (in blue). Use a third font for: 20/11/2013 38
  39. 39. Using too small point size Use large font sizes. For instance: Point size 24, 18 and 16. Use bold and italics sparingly. Never use shadows. 12 point size is not readable 20/11/2013 39 
  40. 40. 8. No imagination Here’s how to really captivate your audience 20/11/2013 40 
  41. 41. Break the rules But to break the rules with grace, you must first master them. 20/11/2013 41 
  42. 42. Do something unexpected Never be a slave to your slides or notes. Break up the talk by utilizing other visuals or tools. Walk to a different part of the room. Use a whiteboard and draw something Do something that people will remember Usually it is something completely unexpected 20/11/2013 42 
  43. 43. To sum it all up Use emotions, eye-contact and your voice. Talk about their interest, less about yours. Use the “Rule of Thirds” in your design. Use the “Filter Test” for headlines. Keep your slides simple. 20/11/2013 43  Stick to one idea pr. slide. Use the 6x6 rule for bullets. Use large font sizes. Be imaginative and memorable.
  44. 44. Thank you for your attention 
  45. 45. Recommended books 
  46. 46. Recommended short films  STOP! You’re killing me with PowerPoint Bill Gates/mosquitoes @ TED Five things every presenter needs to know about people SCREEN_Japonesas_de_motivacin The Greatest Speech Ever Made - Charlie Chaplin 20/11/2013 46
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