Let’s put a lid on Death by PowerPoint once and for all.
One program can’t be responsible for the millions of boring presentations being delivered out there, yet the blame always goes to PowerPoint. Learning a craft takes a lot of time and dedication. The lack of time invested in learning the program and designing visual content are the roadblocks that most users can’t overcome in order to create a deck.
It’s too often that people blame PowerPoint for poor presentations, but the program can only make do with what the user puts into it. After all, it’s still only a visual aid. The rest of the presentation’s development rests on your shoulders.
Plan Out and Plot Your Points
The power to do anything with PowerPoint might be what puts off people from the program. Everyone starts with an empty slide, which can understandably be intimidating to stare at and fill with text. Avoid the pressure it places on you by preparing your outline now and creating a PowerPoint later.
Research your topic first. You’ll be ending up with a lot of information. Narrow it all down and create an outline next to trim down data that’s not supporting your message. Facilitate the flow of information for your audience by providing a structure and outlining your ideas before creating a deck.
Familiarize Yourself with PowerPoint
Lack of technical PowerPoint know-how will make it difficult for you to embody your vision on the slide. Familiarize yourself with the basic functions of the program and empower yourself with creation.
Invest time in learning PowerPoint. Look up a tutorial in a search engine, and the results are right there for your convenience. However, here’s another problem: design isn’t something we can come up with on the fly.
Your brand identity depends on your chosen design. The color scheme you pick determines the character of your brand, so pick one that best suits your needs. For example, blue is often seen as a professional color. Try to give it a bit of contrast by pairing it with orange and balance these colors by deciding which color you want to give more prominence.
Learning both the program and design is a multidisciplinary task that you can’t rush yourself into.
Practice, Practice, Practice
PowerPoint can be your ally or your enemy, but you can always count on yourself first.
Invest in your own abilities and hone your speaking skills. Record yourself and point out areas in your speech that gave you trouble and make sure to get it right on the next take. Keep doing so until you can get your entire pitch right in one take. Practice your delivery so that you know your pitch like the back of your hand.
You’re the center of the presentation, and PowerPoint is just there to aid you. Don’t pour all your effort and resources on your deck. Make sure to spend the same amount on yourself.
PowerPoint, Your Partner for the Perfect Pitch
As with most things in life, you can only get out what you put in when it comes to PowerPoint. Resist the temptation to cram your entire research in a few slides. Structure your slides in a way that will make it easier for your audience to follow what you’re saying.
Miscommunication down the line can be avoided if we make the effort to learn the language that machines speak: they wait for us to input a command, then they execute it.
In defense of PowerPoint, it has clear limitations. For one, it can’t customize your pitch according to your vision. You have to provide the input that the program can work with.
Maximize its potential before dismissing the capabilities of this presentation tool. Ask a team of experts to help you get the most out of your pitch.
Kaptereve, Alexei. “Death by PowerPoint.” SlideShare, July 31, 2007. www.slideshare.net/thecroaker/death-by-powerpoint