Tech Tip: Improve Your PowerPoint Skills

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We’ve all seen them: The PowerPoint presentations that just put us to sleep. If you’re giving a presentation, there are things you can do in PowerPoint to liven things up and keep your audience engaged and paying attention. Here are a few tips.

Avoid Too Much Information: Don’t put a ton of information on slides that isn’t going to be presented or handed out later. We’ve seen many vendors (we’re looking at you, Microsoft) who have given slide shows that have a lot of great information, but each slide will have 200 words of stuff, pictures, graphics, etc… . It’s overwhelming, and if you actually need that information, you’re resorting to taking pictures with your phone or screenshots (which can violate NDAs in some cases). Keep your slides simple and have them reinforce a point you’re making, not be the entire point you are making.

Say No To Bullet Points: Ever watch an Apple presentation? They rarely have bullet points, instead having line items fly in one at a time. Talk about each item as they come in and don’t gloss over it. If it’s not worth talking about, don’t bother even putting it up there.

Start Slideshows Instantly: Nothing looks less professional than watching a presenter’s laptop screen with their desktop full of icons or emails for longer than necessary. Then when they find the file, they get it opened up, and then fumble around for the slideshow start button and start it from there. Instead, save a copy of the slideshow as a PowerPoint Show file which will start up in slideshow mode instantly when double-clicked on.

Blackouts and Whiteouts: Feel like folks aren’t paying attention to you and you want them to pay attention to you and something you’re doing instead? Press the “B” button on the keyboard during your presentation to black the screen out or “W” to make it all white. Hit it again to bring the presentation back to normal.

Animate It: Don’t go overboard with this, but you can animate everything in PowerPoint. Choose the element, go to the Animations tab and click down on the arrow to get more. You can have all sorts of fun with how the element appears, disappears, gets emphasis, has animated motion, etc… . But don’t go overboard, as it can get distracting and cause motion sickness very quickly.

What say you? Have a tip you’ve found that has helped you with your PowerPoint presentations? Share it in the comment box below.

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