The world is getting more competitive with each passing day. It is now important to have good presentations skills and also an effective presentation. During business meetings, conferences and summits, time is of the importance and presenting the required content within the given time is of great importance. One must be able to get the message across in the limited time given. For this to be possible, proper preparation must be made including the design of the Powerpoint presentation itself. There are a couple of things to consider when preparing the Powerpoint presentation. These are outlined in the following sections.
1. Have a Ready Outline
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Most presentations that do not make it are written without proper planning. This takes away the effectiveness of the whole presentation. Since the primary objective of effective Powerpoint presentations is to mention and explain in details the topic or idea to the audience, one should have at their finger tips what they plan to say to the audience and then decide how they are going to illustrate it. Before making the actual slides, it is recommended to have an outline of the presentation beforehand.
One should also make sure that the outline has a beginning, a middle and an end. It should also have a clear flow of concepts that build up to the main idea. This will make the audience to appreciate what is on each slide and make them anxious to know what is coming next. If possible, it is a good idea to leave the audience wanting more of what one is presenting.
2. One Concept at a Time
During any duration of the presentation, whatever is being displayed on the screen should be what one is explaining. Since the audience will be reading the contents of the slides as soon as they are displayed, it is important to have only what you are explaining at the moment and nothing more. For instance, if one has four bullet points to go through and they are all displayed at the same moment, the audience will be ahead of the presenter. Revealing bullet points one at a time helps to control the flow of content and thus keeping the audience engaged.
3. Use Images Carefully
There are two main arguments concerning the use of images in Powerpoint software presentations. Some people say that images keep the audience interested while others argue that they are a distraction. Both sides of the argument have their benefits but the main point that comes to mind is to make use of images only in situations where they add valuable information or help to explain an abstract concept. Images should also be unique as they help create a theme for the presentation. Using clip-art makes the presentation less engaging since the audience has seen the images many times.
Asking questions tugs at the curiosity of the audience and arouses their interest. It is therefore advisable to ask a lot of questions. It is exciting to build tension by presenting a question and leave it hanging before moving on to the next slide which has the answer. It is also good to keep the audience engaged by asking them questions regarding the topic of the presentation. This will make them curious wanting to know more and active throughout the presentation.
5. Keep it Lively
Most times when one has done a presentation a couple of times before, they become prone to becoming monotonous. This makes the presentation less lively and less engaging. It is important to speak to the audience as one would speak to a friend and not as if reading from a bunch of cards. If this proves difficult, it is recommended to do some practice with dry runs. In case one is not comfortable speaking in front of an audience, it is advisable to go for public speaking classes as they are very effective in boosting morale and help the presenter gain confidence.
6. Have An Opening Line
Effective Powerpoint presentations capture the attention of the audience from the first moment and keeps them engaged from then onwards. It is always good to open the presentation with something that will get the attention of the audience. This may be something that appeals to their emotions or something that keeps them asking themselves questions throughout the presentation. The opening line should be something intriguing or surprising and will keep them engaged throughout the presentation.
7. Design the Presentation Well
Powerpoint has an assortment of tools and additions to a presentation which helps to improve the visual outlook of the presentation. However, it is advisable to avoid placing too many visual effects to the presentation as it may become an annoyance. Instead, one should focus on a simple yet elegant design. For instance, dark text should be placed on a light background in order to make it easier to read. Decorative and fancy fonts should be used for headings only and even then, one should choose fonts that are not hard to read. Avoiding clutter is also another thing one should note in order to have effective Powerpoint presentations. Text in a presentation that is aligned at the center is hard to read and it is recommended to either align left or light for the presentation to be easy to follow.
8. Do Not Use Paragraphs
The purpose of Powerpoint software slides is to illustrate the concept of the presentation and is not the presentation on its own. The slides therefore act as a reinforcement to what the presenter says during the presentation. One should not have the paragraphs in the slides and instead they should be placed in the script as a form of easy reference when expounding on concepts in the presentation.
In conclusion, effective Powerpoint presentations can be done by anyone who is willing to follow the tips outlined above and keep the audience engaged throughout the presentation. It is important to always keep in mind that planning is what determines whether the presentation will be an outstanding success or a complete failure.