You’ve been there. Sitting in a presentation that you wished had ended 30 minutes earlier. The speaker is reading their slides to you. They all look the same. You quit paying attention about five minutes in. Congrats, you’ve experienced “Death by PowerPoint.”
According to Kari Knutson (www.knutsonspeaks.com) most of us are guilty of boring our audiences to death.
“You are the show, not the PowerPoint,” Knutson said. “This is not an eye of judgement. I want you to think of it as a learning environment.”
Great presenters know it’s about the human connection. Your slides should be visual reinforcement.
“Great presenters engage with audience, not the slides, Knutson said. “Your content is the show. PowerPoint is the backup.”
Let your words be assisted by the visual. Don’t let the slides take away from your information. Make your words matter. Make it a story worth telling. Make it worth listening to.
Knutson shared 10 presentation do’s and don’ts.
- Beginnings and endings – don’t waste sides by saying welcome or the end.
- Don’t put an about me slide. They came for the content. You can work the rest into your presentation.
- Don’t put a thank you slide. Just say it.
- Don’t put up a slide that says “Questions?”
- Don’t repeats headers, footers, templates, and logos. It keeps your audience from seeing each slide with new eyes. There’s no anticipation. No I wonder what’s next. They already know and want it to end. You’ve done nothing to visually stimulate the audience.
- Reading the slide isn’t good presenting. Knutson calls it Powerpoint Karaoke — if you need the screen in front of you to say what you’re going to say, you are doing PowerPoint karaoke.
- They can’t read your slide and pay attention to you at the same time. Don’t fill it so full of information your audience is busy reading it and not paying attention to you. Instead, use a whole slide for a term or phrase or concept you want someone to remember.
- Do use a slide with your info showing how they can connect with you later.
- Leave them with a summary or idea at the end. Use a quote or a picture to end on. You make sure you deliver the summary. Never make a questions slide for your last slide. You want them to remember your content, not what someone else has to say. If you take questions, do it before you put up your last slide. Close out with your summary.
- BONUS TIP for communicators who make presentations for others to give: If your boss thinks the slides must has have your brand, go easy on the use of template and branding on every slide. Use the notes option to give your speaker the information to deliver the content, don’t put it all on the slides. Encourage others to use their expertise and really engage with the audience.