There are a number of ways to get information across to a group of people, but few as effective as a powerpoint presentation tips and guidelines. Part of the reason why PowerPoint is such an effective tool is because of it’s user-friendly interface.
Take your lessons to the next level
But being able to use the program doesn’t necessarily mean the presentations are useful or effective. Oftentimes, presenters try too hard to be impressive with flying texts and unusual fonts without realizing they get old and distracting to the audience. Here are some powerpoint presentation tips and guidelines to help keep your audience’s interest and avoid common distracting pitfalls.
Keep the number of words on each screen to a minimum. Instead, use key phrases to highlight important information you want to convey to your audience. The use of blank space is a highly effective tool to keep your audience engaged and attentive and aids in retention, so limiting the number of words per screen helps create that blank space on each page.
Avoid using punctuation. Information on pages should not generally be a lot of text and full sentences. To take it a step further, limit the use of all capital letters. With the exception of acronyms or specific visual aids, presenting in all caps makes readers feel as if they are being yelled at visually.
If adding visuals or photos to your presentation, be sure to use ones that are high quality and that reflect the message you’re trying to convey. Use of stock art or clipart in Powerpoint presentations makes an otherwise good presentation seem chintzy and low quality.
Using images that don’t particularly associate with the message can also be a distracting factor for the audience. Most importantly, be sure images maintain their quality when magnified onto a large screen.
Know and Practice
Not only is it important to know your presentation material inside and out, it is important to know how to navigate comfortably through the material. This means also knowing and understanding the technical aspects of PowerPoint beyond clicking the “next” key. This means knowing how to move forward and backward through the presentation. Oftentimes and audience member will request to see a previous slide. Knowing how to move through the presentation in a non-linear fashion takes practice.
Not only fewer words per page, but fewer pages per presentation. Presenters who are constantly moving through pages tend to lose their audience’s attention and focus.
Keeping the time at approximately one minute per page will help keep the presentation running smoothly without throwing too much information at the audience too fast.
If at all possibly, try to view your slides from the screen you will be presenting on. This can give you the opportunity to make sure all text is visible, even from the back row. But it can also help determine if words are too big that audience members will feel they are being shouted at.
This also gives the presenter the opportunity to prepare for technical difficulties ahead of time. Knowing how everything presents can be effective at developing a strategy for technical issues and providing effective content in another manner.
Talk to your Audience
Some common mistakes made by presenters include reading directly off their slides and speaking to their screens. We have to assume the audience can certainly read for themselves. Keeping the slides simple will help prompt you with the idea you need to speak to the audience–not to your screen. It will also help avoid the mistake of reading directly to your audience.
Make No Apologies
You shouldn’t have to apologize for the quality or content of your PowerPoint presentation. If you feel there might be something in your presentation that is hard to understand, interpret, or read, it is best to leave it out. Instead, use material that you know will get your message across without confusion or misinterpretation.
A few decades ago, presentations were at the mercy of pointers and pie charts. Flipping back and forth through charts and graphs left a lot to be desired for both audience and presenter. The use of PowerPoint has given just about everybody the ability to create a presentation on any subject.
Finally, putting that presentation together in a way that is interesting and useful requires a bit of know how and a lot of practice. One of the hardest things for presenters to often remember is that less is more. But if you’re going to do more, make sure it is quality material and effective without being cheesy or distracting.