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We’re in Strong Defense of PowerPoint and So Should You

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.

 

Reference

Kaptereve, Alexei. “Death by PowerPoint.” SlideShare, July 31, 2007. www.slideshare.net/thecroaker/death-by-powerpoint

5 Warm-Up Exercises for Professional Presentations

Utilizing your whole body is a must when presenting in front of a crowd.

Non-verbal communication makes a difference in getting your message across effectively and concisely. What you do physically should match what you’re saying, as any inconsistency between visual and verbal delivery could make your audience doubt the authenticity of your claims.

After all, audiences don’t only have ears – they have eyes, too.

To make the most out of your body language skills and look more professional, do some warm-up exercises before you step up and deliver your presentation.

1. Take Deep Breaths

As with any warm-up, you have to do some breathing exercises first. This calms you down and prepares your body for the stretching you’ll be doing.

To get yourself at peak alertness, we recommend the Bellows Method. This entails breathing rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Doing this also invigorates and primes you for that important pitch ahead.

2. Relax Your Neck

While standing up straight, rest your head forward, and slowly rotate your neck around your shoulders. Do this both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Make sure not to overdo it. Rotate as gently and as naturally as possible.

This frees your neck from tension and relaxes you.

3. Wiggle Your Hands

Hand gestures are the easiest tools for conveying your message in a simple and effective manner. Wiggling your hands not only improves blood flow, but also loosens your muscles.

Properly using hand gestures can have a dramatic effect on how your audience listens. Make sure to prepare your hands well to get the best out of them.

4. Stretch Your Legs

Moving around is as important as waving your hands around, especially with a large crowd. Therefore, ensure that your legs are in top shape before you step up. You can achieve this by doing your basic lunges, alternating each leg.

To avoid missteps or trips, stretch your legs before your pitch.

5. Exercise Your Face Muscles

Don’t worry. Your parents were wrong when they said your face would stay that way forever. Your facial expressions are important for emphasizing emotions that you wish to invoke in your audience. Contort your face in every possible way to stretch your facial muscles.

Doing this in front of a mirror also lets you be more comfortable with your appearance, and allows you to pick out the expressions and angles that show you at your best.

Summing It Up

Public speaking isn’t all about using only your mouth. Your body language matters, too. Enhance and complement your pitch by preparing yourself physically and mentally. To avoid cramping up and embarrassing yourself, don’t forget to do preparatory exercises. Make sure to stretch and loosen up your whole body.

Start with some deep breathing to calm yourself down. Breathing exercises prepare you not only for more stretching, but for the coming presentation. Then, work on releasing the tension in every part of your body, starting with your neck. Shake your hands to loosen them up, then do some quick lunges to stretches your legs.

Finally, don’t forget that you face has muscles, too, so make all sorts of expressions to warm them up. Warming up your body helps you warm up your mind, making you more alert and efficient during your presentation.

Need a well-designed PowerPoint deck for more professional presentations? Contact SlideGenius for a free consultation.

References

Breathing: Three Exercises.Weil. Accessed September 10, 2015.
How to Use Body Language Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 02, 2015. Accessed September 10, 2015.
Presentation Warm-up Exercises.” Syntaxis. Accessed September 10, 2015.

Presentation Slides & Titles: 5 Tips on Using Assertions

Have you ever attended any business presentations that used the headers “Background,” “Sales,” or “Conclusion” in their PowerPoint?

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In most decks, almost every slide is guaranteed to have a title.

Your audience’s attention span is short, so make your text clear and concise.

Assertion-Evidence Structure

As cited by Six Minutes’ Andrew Dlugan, Dr. Michael Alley, author of The Craft of Scientific Presentations and a Pennsylvania State University professor, developed the Assertion-Evidence Structure (AES) for better presentation slides.

Assertion is where a complete sentence is placed into each slide title.

The evidence supports the headline with visual designs (ex. pictures, graphs, diagrams, drawings, equations).

Slide titles also help your audience better understand and remember your presentation.

Using Assertions as Headlines

In this post, we’ll focus on five guidelines for planning your PowerPoint slides using assertions.

1. Turn Your Idea into a Statement

PowerPoint is used as your visual aid. It should contain important points that support your actual pitch.

Avoid using titles such as “Sales” and “Conclusions,” as they have no concrete details or information worth remembering.

Keep the title short and clear to so that your audience will understand what it means.

2. Keep It Simple

Make your statement shorter. If possible, condense it to one line and remove any unnecessary words that might confuse your audience.

Include only those that are significant to relay a more meaningful message.

3. Use Larger Text

Never underestimate the power of font size.

To avoid losing your audience’s interest, use 40 point text size for your slide titles, like how newspapers, books, and web pages apply this to capture one’s attention.

4. Use a Consistent Location

Place the title in the slide’s upper-left corner, as it’s the easiest place for your audience to find it.

Your deck’s purpose is to guide your audience, not mislead them.

5. Make It Readable

Make it easier for your audience to read your slide’s text.

This shows that you care about their needs, letting them understand what you’re trying to point out.

It’s better to use san serif fonts for better legibility.

Summing It Up

Using these assertions help you craft clearer presentation slide, increasing your chances of effectively conveying your message to your audience.

To develop clearer and more concise PowerPoint slides, let the presentation experts help you out.

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References

4 Tips to Make Your Presentation Clear and Concise.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 18, 2015.
Design 101: Basic Elements of a PowerPoint Deck.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed June 18, 2015.
Slide Title Guidelines: Use Assertions, Not Topics.” Six Minutes. Accessed June 18, 2015.

5 Tips to Help You Finish Your PowerPoint Deck on Time

Your presentations aren’t the only tasks you have to accomplish at work.

As much as you want to prepare a well-planned deck, your busy schedule might not permit you to do so.

You need to balance content and design to deliver a winning pitch.

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To avoid a presentation snafu, work on your PowerPoint while maximizing your time.

Here are five tips to finish your PowerPoint deck before the deadline:

Review your schedule and move things around

Preparing for a presentation is a long process.

It’s better to finish tasks gradually than try to do everything in one go. That way, you have the leeway to aim for quality and focus on one thing as you go along.

Check your schedule and see if there are things you can move around to make space for your tasks. Work around your free time and split up what you have to do.

Even if you’re days away from the big presentation, organize a to-do list to maximize the time you have left.

Prioritize tasks accordingly

If you’re finishing your deck on a tight deadline, you need to learn how to prioritize. Accomplish your PowerPoint deck following a particular order.

Start with a structure for your presentation before drafting the content and finally working on your slide design. This hierarchy will determine which direction you should take your PowerPoint deck, so make sure you have a solid foundation before you move on to the next task.

Look around the web for inspiration 

Coming up with your own design concept isn’t that hard. For one, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found by browsing around the Internet.

You can check out these links to see what type of aesthetic you’d like to go for in your presentation:

Re-purpose old presentations 

Save yourself time by working with something you already have. In his article for Content Marketing Institute, Vertical Measures CEO Arnie Kuenn suggests repurposing previous content for marketing strategies to save time and money.

Similarly, this principle can apply to your overall presentation as well. Review your old files and find some PowerPoint files that you can easily edit and turn into a different presentation. Change up the color scheme or replace images you used with new ones you found online. Be as resourceful as you can.

Perfection is the last step

While you need to make sure that each task is accomplished properly, don’t try to chase perfection just yet.

Due to your limited time frame, you can’t spend too much time ironing out details.

The most important thing is to finish your PowerPoint deck. Once you’ve done that, review your presentation one last time and tweak the areas that may need improvement.

If you run out of time , it’s better to present a complete PowerPoint deck than something that looks hurried and incomplete.

Preparing an effective PowerPoint deck will take some effort. Make sure you maximize the time you have by taking note of these easy tips.

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References:

Kuenn, Arnie. “Repurposing Benefits.” Content Marketing Institute. October 28, 2013. Accessed March 12, 2015.
The Pyramid Principle: Tips for Presentation Structure.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 21, 2014. Accessed March 12, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Life of Pix