The sight of a PowerPoint presentation is not one that commonly thrills people. It is often met with a groan, tired eyes and a lack of engagement from the audience; as they look at the clock hoping it will finish quickly. However, it doesn’t have to be like this. By changing a few things we can all be giving better presentations; helping the presenter and the audience enjoy, rather than dread the experience.
This is a really good place to start when you initially begin to write the presentation. This is essentially a guideline to help limit the reading on the screen, and help the audience engage with you. The way it works is…
No more than 10 slides
Last for a maximum of 20 minutes
Have a minimum font size of 30 point
The slides are there to help you present, rather than present for you. If you feel that the audience needs some extra information, give them a handout to follow along and take away at the end.
Have a core message
At the start ensure your audience knows the purpose of the presentation. Have the key points on the first slide, and then again at the end. This will help direct you and the audience and ensure that nobody is in any doubt as to the intention, and they benefit they will get.
Involve the audience
Build rapport with the audience, be quite light-hearted and friendly, potentially use a joke and show them that the tone will be quite relaxed. Ask questions to the audience throughout the presentation to involve them, it’s the easiest way to promote engagement and prevent the presentation stagnating.
Make sure you are engaging
The easiest way to help your presentations is by changing your presentation style. Make sure you talk to the audience, not the screen or a piece of paper. Body language can also help. Try to avoid folding your arms or having your hands in your pockets, for example. Be open and positive, helping to promote this engagement with the audience.
The most important thing you can do is relax and let yourself enjoy it. There is a huge amount of satisfaction from teaching and helping people. Remember that you are in control of the content, pace and tone of everything that is said; use this to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.