1. PowerPoint, when displayed via a projector, is a usefultool for showing audiences things that enhance what thespeaker is saying. It is a useful tool for illustrating thecontent of a speech, such as by showing photos, graphs,charts, maps, etc., or by highlighting certain text from aspeech, such as quotations or major ideas. It should not beused as a slide-show outline of what the speaker is tellingthe audience
2. Slides used in a presentation should be spare, in terms ofhow much information is on each slide, as well as how many slidesare used. A rule of thumb is to put no more than eight lines oftext on a slide, and with no more than eight to ten words per line.In most cases, less is more, so four lines of text is probablybetter. don’t display charts or graphs with a lot of information—if it’s useful for the audience to see such things, pass them out ashandouts.
3. unless you’re an experienced designer, don’t use thetransition and animation “tricks” that are built intoPowerPoint, such as bouncing or flying text. By now, mostpeople roll their eyes when they see these things, andthese tricks add nothing of value to a presentation.
4. Above all, use high-contrast color schemes so thatwhatever is on your slides is readable. Unless you are atalented graphic designer, use the templates that come withPowerPoint or Keynote, and keep it simple—high concept design ina slide presentation doesn’t help in most circumstances, unlessyou’re in the fashion or design fields. if you use graphics orphotos, try to use the highest quality you can find or afford—clipart and low-resolution graphics blown up on a screen usuallydetract from a presentation.
5. Rehearse your PowerPoint presentation and not just once.don’t let powerpoint get in the way of your oral presentation,and make sure you know how it works, what sequence the slidesare in, how to get through it using someone else’s computer, etc.Make sure that you can deliver your presentation if PowerPointis completely unavailable; in other words, make sure you cangive your speech without your PowerPoint presentation.
6. Get used to using black slides. There are few speeches thatneed something displayed on the screen all the time. If youinclude a black slide in your presentation, your audience willrefocus on you, rather than on the screen, and you can directthem back to the screen when you have something else to showthem. Put a black screen at the end of your presentation, so thatwhen you’re done, the powerpoint presentation is finished and offthe screen.
7. Concentrate on keeping the audience focused on you, not on thescreen. You can do this by using slides sparingly, standing in frontof the audience in a way that makes them look at you, and, ifpossible, going to the screen and using your hand or arm to pointout things on a slide. If you expect to be using PowerPoint a lot,invest in a remote “clicker” that lets you get away from thecomputer and still drive your presentation. if you don’t have one ofthose, it’s better to ask someone to run the presentation than to bebehind a screen and keyboard while you talk.
8. If you show something on a computer that requires moving the cursor around,or flipping from one screen to another, or some other technique that requiresinteraction with the computer itself, remember that people in the audience willsee things very differently on the projection screen than you see them on thecomputer screen. keep motion on the screen to a minimum, unless you’re showing amovie or a video. it’s better to show a static screenshot of a web page, embedded ona slide, than to call up the Web page in a browser on a computer. If you want topoint out something on a Web page, go to the screen and point at it—don’t jiggle thecursor around what you want people to look at: their heads will look like bobble-headed dolls.
9. don’t “cue” the audience that listening to your speech meansgetting through your PowerPoint presentation. If the audiencesees that your PowerPoint presentation is the structure of yourspeech, they’ll start wondering how many slides are left. slidesshould be used asynchronously within your speech, and only tohighlight or illustrate things. Audiences are bored with oralpresentations that go from one slide to the next until the end.Engage the audience, and use slides only when they are useful.
10. Learn how to give a good speech without PowerPoint. This takespractice, which means giving speeches without PowerPoint. Believe it or not,public speaking existed before PowerPoint, and many people remember it asbeing a lot better then than it is now. A few people use presentationsoftware in extremely effective ways—Steve Jobs and Stanford LawProfessor Lawrence Lessig are two examples. al gore’s use of keynote inthe movie “an inconvenient truth” was a good model. but these threeexamples don’t look at all like the way most people use powerpoint.Avoiding bad PowerPoint habits means, first and foremost, becoming a goodpublic speaker.
Rules for theEffective Use ofPowerPointPresentations
Limit the Number of SlidesKeeping the message simple usually results in an effectivepresentation. By designing a presentation that contains just theessential information, it makes it easier for the audience to listen,learn and act on the content. Effective presentations contain anintroduction, set of topic slides and then a conclusion slide thatsummarizes the main points of the presentation. Engagingpresentations contain complete, accurate, timely and applicablematerial. When presenting, effective presenter spend no more thana minute or two presenting each topic. Then, the presenter canengage the audience in conversation for the best results.
Pick an Appropriate ThemePicking the right background, font (such as Arial)and font size to meet the needs of the audienceenhances the success of pleasing the viewers. Forexample, if the presentation will be viewed fromfar away, increase the font size. If thepresentation will be part of a series ofpresentations, all of the files should rely on thesame theme (from the "Design" menu, by choosingone the available themes). Keeping thebackground subtle makes it easier for the viewerto see the slide contents.
Use Lists and Tables to Organize InformationEffective presentation designers avoid including long paragraphs oftext. Using lists consisting of short phrases that summarize themessage encourages the audience to listen to the presentationrather than just look at the slides. Inserting tables of information tocategorize the content helps the viewer quickly see a summary. Usingbackground colors and block shapes can further focus attention onthe most important topic. When the audience needs to interpretcomplex information, such as operational metrics, organizing theinformation into blocks helps reinforce the important points.
Use Relevant VisualsUsing pictures, photos and multimedia elements to enhancethe visual appeal typically makes a presentation moreeffective. However, users should ensure the graphicsrelate well. Adding labels, arrows or captions on chartscan further call attention to the important elements.Animation and screen builds help make presentation slideseffective because they add details at the right time,without overwhelming the user. Using a time line, forexample, helps viewers understand the deadlines andmilestones associated with a project. Chart types such asbar, line and pie display data making it easy to interpret.
Check Spelling and GrammarUsing PowerPoints "Spelling" function from the "Review"menu helps ensure the presentation contains no errors.Users should read aloud their slides while creating thepresentation to ensure there are no punctuation andgrammar problems either. The PowerPoint "Thesaurus" and"Research" functions also provide a way for users toensure the presentations contain relevant details inorder to tell a convincing story.
Whether a user creates a PowerPoint presentation to sell a product to a customer, teach a concept, explain a budget to a project team or display family photos set to music, following some basic rules enhances her ability to make effective use of this tool. Rules for effective use of PowerPoint presentations include establishing a clear objective, gathering the rightmaterials and organizing a clear message. Creating a checklist to make sure that a presentation conforms to establishedguidelines helps ensure a presentation (or set of presentations) enable the intended impact.