Using PowerPoint to Make Your Point April 8, 2000 Rohn Jay Miller Senior Vice President – Product & Technology
Why I wrote this deck <ul><li>People in my group needed to brief others </li></ul><ul><li>Powerpoint was the medium of cho...
PowerPoint features <ul><li>Templates  – pre-formatted blank presentations which allow you to skip past issues like colors...
PowerPoint is just technology <ul><li>It can be used for good,  it can be used for evil </li></ul><ul><li>It can be a powe...
Two kinds of PowerPoint  <ul><li>Presentation deck  –  this is a set of PowerPoint slides which you will use to complement...
Presentation decks <ul><li>Keep them short.   The smaller your audience, the shorter the deck should be.  If you’re talkin...
Presentation Decks <ul><ul><li>Don’t read the deck out loud.   Don’t insult your audience by reading every word you’re say...
Reading Decks <ul><li>Just so you know , this is a reading deck. </li></ul><ul><li>You can fit a lot of information  onto ...
Use FORMATTING consistently <ul><li>Nothing bugs me about a PowerPoint deck than different slides having different formatt...
I Hate Clip Art <ul><li>Go find something original, or at least use graphs and charts rather than the cutesy, junky, garba...
Some interesting uses of PowerPoint <ul><li>On long-term jobs or projects  –  Build a library of deck pages, and perhaps o...
Some interesting uses of PowerPoint <ul><li>As a “leave behind —” Have a meeting with a client, or another project team—pe...
Some interesting uses of PowerPoint <ul><li>As a “calling card—”   It’s hard sometimes to get in to see some people.  An e...
Action items <ul><li>By federal law  all PowerPoint decks end either with “action items” or with “next steps.”  (Just kidd...
Final thoughts <ul><li>PowerPoint is a software tool  that allows you to communicate professionally quickly across a wide ...
Final check list for all PowerPoint decks <ul><li>Check on your audience ahead of time— what are they expecting and are yo...
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How To Use Powerpoint -- A Briefing

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This is a short powerpoint deck I wrote on how to write powerpoint decks. My staff had a wide range of experience in presenting and the results were often disastrous. This is a simple baseline briefing about guidelines for creating powerpoint presentations. Or not.

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  • How To Use Powerpoint -- A Briefing

    1. 1. Using PowerPoint to Make Your Point April 8, 2000 Rohn Jay Miller Senior Vice President – Product & Technology
    2. 2. Why I wrote this deck <ul><li>People in my group needed to brief others </li></ul><ul><li>Powerpoint was the medium of choice </li></ul><ul><li>We saw good, bad and very ugly decks </li></ul><ul><li>Here’s some rules for beginners </li></ul><ul><li>Visit http://www.presentationzen.com/ where Garr Reynolds collects the best current thinking on how to present to others </li></ul>
    3. 3. PowerPoint features <ul><li>Templates – pre-formatted blank presentations which allow you to skip past issues like colors, graphical treatment, fonts choices </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia Tools – Functionality that allows you to add cool graphics, charts, multimedia, dissolves, notes and animations </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-operability – PowerPoint can import and export information to and from most popular software programs, including all of Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Visio, Project </li></ul><ul><li>Wizards – Step by step instructions wrapped around some templates which help you organize your presentation </li></ul>
    4. 4. PowerPoint is just technology <ul><li>It can be used for good, it can be used for evil </li></ul><ul><li>It can be a powerful adjunct to briefings or planning </li></ul><ul><li>“ Wizards” were never intended to replace critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>It shouldn’t replace the art of human communication </li></ul>
    5. 5. Two kinds of PowerPoint <ul><li>Presentation deck – this is a set of PowerPoint slides which you will use to complement an oral presentation, often to a group. This kind of deck should feature a few slides, brief phrases, large typefaces and clear, engaging graphics. </li></ul><ul><li>Reading deck – this is a set of slides which will be sent, either in hard copy or by e-mail to a recipient, who will read the deck by themselves. This kind of deck requires (and allows) for much more detail. </li></ul><ul><li>Do yourself— and your audience—a big favor and decide which kind of deck you’re writing beforehand. Don’t confuse the two! </li></ul><ul><li>Which kind of deck is this deck? </li></ul>
    6. 6. Presentation decks <ul><li>Keep them short. The smaller your audience, the shorter the deck should be. If you’re talking to 2-3 people, you’ll want to converse, and if you have too many slides that are too long your audience will disengage. I know one salesman who allows one slide in the deck for each person in the room . </li></ul><ul><li>Illustrate key points well. Your presentation really has 4-5 key points. Focus on those and do a great job of “illustrating” them—a pie chart, a punch line, a photograph. Say 4-5 things well, and that’s it. Don’t stuff slides with information---get focused. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep them clean and simple. Goofy graphics and busy slides may seem like there’s a lot of information in your deck, and may make sense to you, but there are 3 people sitting in the second row who are sound asleep. </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations should be more interactive. You’re a smart person, but you’re talking to smart people, too. Sitting for an hour listening to you read 30 slides can be torture. Stop & ask a question; do a “reality check” about a key point; encourage people to talk with you interactively. </li></ul><ul><li>At Intel Corporation you are allowed one slide for every ten minutes of your presentation </li></ul>
    7. 7. Presentation Decks <ul><ul><li>Don’t read the deck out loud. Don’t insult your audience by reading every word you’re saying on the slide. Trust me, they can read. You want them to *listen* to you. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t use all the animation tools. There are a lot of “whizzy” things you can add to a presentation deck—wipes, fades, animations. Use a few of them well, not all of them poorly. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t look at the screen . People usually want you to look them in the eye when you talk to them. Don’t make them look at your ear. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t let the deck wag the dog. The deck supports your talk. Remember that when you change a slide your audience will be looking at the slide first, then listening to you. Put the point up, and then take charge of it. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Reading Decks <ul><li>Just so you know , this is a reading deck. </li></ul><ul><li>You can fit a lot of information onto a page. For many people reading in bullets and illustrations is more comfortable than trying to read a “white paper.” </li></ul><ul><li>Many business plans today are written in PowerPoint,& it’s used for executive summaries, for orientation to big projects, and for training. </li></ul><ul><li>The same graphical rules for magazines apply to reading decks. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use a reading deck to describe detailed processes or projects which require precision in their communication. Short sentences, read in isolation, breed ambiguity. If it’s that complex, write a cogent memo with graphics. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a good idea to have someone else read your deck before you send it out and comment on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity and focus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistent voice, formatting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Length and visual impact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typos and consistency in formatting </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Use FORMATTING consistently <ul><li>Nothing bugs me about a PowerPoint deck than different slides having different formatting back and forth throughout the deck </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s hard enough to follow what’s being said in a deck, without having to adjust to a new set of graphical formatting on each slide. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If your slide uses bullet points for the top layer of the outline, don’t switch to numbers to do precisely the same thing on a different slide </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DON’T USE DIFFERENT SIZED FONTS and formatting on different pages of the deck. Check your deck for formatting consistency through the entire deck. Better yet, make sure it follows the default formatting rules your firm or department has established for all PowerPoint decks. If you don’t know what that is, ask your manager, or at least click on View / Master / Slide Master on the PowerPoint toolbar to see what the default formatting is. IF there is NO STANDARD, invent one for your deck which uses common sense, and make everyone around you use it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Voice change is jarring--tone, tense, person </li></ul>
    10. 10. I Hate Clip Art <ul><li>Go find something original, or at least use graphs and charts rather than the cutesy, junky, garbage that is shoveled out as clip art: </li></ul>
    11. 11. Some interesting uses of PowerPoint <ul><li>On long-term jobs or projects – Build a library of deck pages, and perhaps one or two complete decks you can update as you go along. For example, a reading deck and a presentation deck on a big project, updated with new slides on progress, changes in goals, news. Build a key slide you can keep returning to when you review or brief with an audience—a timeline, a matrix. </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinating communications from an organization – Building a library of templates with consistent formatting, graphics, and some multimedia files or animations. It’s also helpful to have a style guide that everyone follows. </li></ul><ul><li>On websites- -- Either internally or externally you can keep decks available online to orient and brief people new to a process or project, or as follow-ups to other forms of contact. Send people to the URL. It’s a tool that designed to allow you to respond quickly with a professional presentation. Use that power. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Some interesting uses of PowerPoint <ul><li>As a “leave behind —” Have a meeting with a client, or another project team—perhaps with a presentation deck---and then leave behind a reading deck which summarizes the points you just communicated. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s the best re-enforcement to the audience of what was said, and allows them later to communicate the points of your presentation to others, sort of as your evangelist. </li></ul><ul><li>A leave behind is also very effective with “sample pages” which are illustrations of your product, service or project. Use PowerPoint to allow your audience to visualize the end goal, not just to flap your gums. </li></ul><ul><li>Begin your verbal presentation by saying, “I have all the details of this presentation I’ll hand out at the end, so don’t feel like you’ve got to take detailed notes.” This can be a real relief to a client, and allow them to relax and just listen. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Some interesting uses of PowerPoint <ul><li>As a “calling card—” It’s hard sometimes to get in to see some people. An e-mail with a deck attached—a reading deck with sample pages, for example—can allow you to make your case without irritating the audience. </li></ul><ul><li>They can read the e-mail , decide if it’s worth more time to understand, and then open your deck. It helps to promise in the e-mail that there’s good, objective “research” in the reading deck attached, and then deliver on that promise. People like free research if its relevant to what they do. </li></ul><ul><li>But remember that you have to hook them hard with your first slide or two, and keep their interest building. </li></ul><ul><li>Think straight, talk straight. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Action items <ul><li>By federal law all PowerPoint decks end either with “action items” or with “next steps.” (Just kidding…) </li></ul><ul><li>But it’s not a bad idea. You just made me read this thing, now what am I supposed to do? Think about that, and make it your last slide. </li></ul><ul><li>Here’s the action items from this deck: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use PowerPoint appropriately going forward—the right kind of deck, the right length, the right situations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember its never about “building a deck.” It’s always about “communicating a message to accomplish a goal.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure formatting and voice are consistent throughout the deck </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s your goal in making the presentation? What outcome do you want, besides “letting people know what’s going on.” Why do you want them to know? What should they do as a result? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And hey, maybe you want to remind them of what you want them to do when you get to the “action items” slide, eh? </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Final thoughts <ul><li>PowerPoint is a software tool that allows you to communicate professionally quickly across a wide range of audiences and delivery channels. </li></ul><ul><li>PowerPoint is not a good way to prove that you can sound like an MBA </li></ul><ul><li>Be careful about writing the deck to organize your thoughts , rather than to write an effective presentation. Many times the first time you organize your thoughts on a subject may be when you write a deck about it. This is when a deck can run 60-70 slides. So you may need to write a deck to get organized, set it aside, and then right a good deck to communicate to effectively meet your goal. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t waste my time. Get to the point effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>Always use spell check. It pays to be thurogh. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Final check list for all PowerPoint decks <ul><li>Check on your audience ahead of time— what are they expecting and are you delivering? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you rehearse or review your presentation? All presentation decks should be rehearsed and all reading decks should be read by someone else. Rehearsal is a great time to coach and to learn. </li></ul><ul><li>Is the formatting consistent— the same size headlines, same size, type face and indentation use in all slides? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you use spell cehck? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the template appropriate , and if it’s a company presentation, are there standards which you’re using? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this deck really necessary? </li></ul>

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