Death by PowerPoint is a catch phrase for those never-ending presentations where the presenter painfully reads every word on every slide. I often wonder, “Do they think I can’t read?”
While PowerPoint has a bit of a bad reputation, the problem isn’t with the program, it’s with the presenter. When used in conjunction with these presentation skills training techniques, PowerPoint helps you tell your story. It helps you, the presenter, remember what to say and focuses your audience on the content of your talk.
Follow these simple presentation skills training guidelines when developing your slides and delivering information using visuals.
Guidelines for developing slides:
- Do not use sentences or paragraphs. If you’re using text at all, only use keywords and short phrases to help you remember what to say.
- Avoid tiny type, graphs or busy spreadsheet. Your goal is a minimum font size of 28! This ensures your audience can see the information you’re referencing.
- Maximum of 4-6 lines of text per slide.
- If you are required to leave your PowerPoint as an archival document, either create a second presentation with the details you need or use the notes section on each slide and print a handout including those details.
- Technical visuals: enlarge important sections and use color to direct attention.
- Financial visuals: enlarge one line of the spread sheet so it can be seen.
- When in doubt, edit it out!
Techniques for delivering slides:
The process is called the three “T’s”. Touch, Turn then Talk. The key to successfully delivering information from slides is to talk only when you are making eye contact with an audience member. At all other times you should remain silent. This silence will allow you to breathe, silently read the slide and think about what you want to say next.
- When it is time to change the slide, finish your sentence.
- Stop talking and walk back to the computer.
- TOUCH the advance button on your computer.
- TURN toward the big screen and silently read the first bullet point.
- TURN and face the audience.
- Once you have made eye contact with one person, begin to TALK.
Yes, you will be silent for what seems like an eternity! The audience loves this process because it allows them to think about what you have just said.
If you lose your train of thought, finish your sentence. Calmly turn to look at the slide, silently read the next point (or two), turn to face the audience and resume speaking.
By developing simple visuals and following this presentation skills training delivery process, you will look, sound and feel more confident. You will speak with more enthusiasm and naturally engage your audience.
If you enjoyed these presentation skills training tips, contact Power Presentations to hone your skills with customized presentation skills training programs designed to meet your goals, timeframe and budget.
About the Sheri Jeavons
When Sheri founded Power Presentations in 1993, she had two goals in mind. The first was to empower business professionals to look and sound dynamic while communicating in any situation. The second was to deliver training that professionals would leave saying, “That was the best training I’ve ever attended. Ever.” Since then, Power Presentations has successfully trained more than 25,000 professionals from a variety of Fortune 500 Companies and industry leaders such as FedEx, Marathon Petroleum, Goodyear, Bayer and NASA.