How to Prepare PowerPoint Presentations

Prepare Better PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint can be great.  Or it can be crap. We all know what Death by PowerPoint feels like. But, how do you prepare better PowerPoint presentations and avoid mistakes?

How do you prepare your presentations?

How do you build you presentation now?

If you want really good presentations, you may need to re-think how you build them.

If you switch to PowerPoint as soon as you hear the word ‘presentation’, then we can show you how you should build your presentation. We suggest you completely re-think how you approach your presentations.

First, understand how NOT to prepare a presentation.

This what most people do to prepare presentations:

1. Switch on their computer

2. Open up PowerPoint

3. Search out other presentations given recently

4. Start making changes to PowerPoint slides

5. Print out the first batch of slides

6. Scribble all over them

7. Re-edit these slides

8. Keep on at the slides until late at night

9. Work at it over the weekend

10. Give it to a colleague to look at

11. Incorporate those comments

12. Work until late at night again

13. Rehearse in the taxi on the way to the meeting

Then, start with:

“Hello, my name is John Smith and I am here today to talk about…..”

This process is akin to making a movie by going out with a camera hoping to find interesting things to film.

It is why so many presentations are deathly boring.  Learn how to prepare a presentation.

How to prepare your great presentation – 10 steps

1. Do NOT open PowerPoint

2. Be clear on who your audience is and what you want to achieve.

3. Have a single message that summarises your talk

4. Break down your presentation into clear parts 

5. Start your presentation with a high impact statement

6. Identify stories, anecdotes and examples 

7. Finish your presentation with a clear message, request or call to action 

8. Use clear simple language 

9. Incorporate pauses, short sentences, great eye contact

10. Work out what questions you could be asked

11. Now, work out if you really need any visual aids or handouts

12. Practise, practise, practise 

We have identified five common PowerPoint mistakes that send presentations to the graveyard:

Help me prepare better presentations

Five Ways Not to Prepare PowerPoint Presentations

1. The Wrong Document

When you work in PowerPoint, are you clear what you are producing?  Is it a handout, visual aids or your speaker’s notes? These three documents are as different as a book, a film and a film script. Too often, we see handouts projected on a screen, or what should be speaker notes printed and distributed.

If you are creating visual aids to accompany your talk, make sure they really are Visual Aids – something that reinforces what you say and helps the listener understand. If it’s a handout, make it self-sufficient.

Help me prepare better presentations

2. Not Easy for Your Audience

Your job as a presenter is to make it easy for your audience. A good slide is simple to interpret. That means using a clear hierarchy of information on the page. Lay out your messages, headings, evidence and facts in a logical way. If you can make it simpler then do so.

Help me prepare better PowerPoint presentations

3. All Bullets and Text

The default PowerPoint approach, with lines of text and bullet points, usually means you are creating speakers notes for yourself. If you create slides to remind yourself what to say, it’s going to be bad for the audience. Instead, you should be making visual aids that always make it easier for your audience.

Help me prepare better presentations

4. Too Many Facts

Lists of facts do not work. Great communication needs stories, messages, evidence and facts. You should appeal to those who need emotional arguments as well as logical arguments. In fact, facts work best when they are embedded in a story or narrative.

Help me prepare better presentations

5. Challenging the Audience to Read

When using Visual Aids, you need to understand how the human brain works. People cannot both read and listen at the same time. If given a choice, they will read, not listen.  Then when they tune in, they will hear you saying things they have just read. This means you, as the presenter, thinking through how you should help the audience absorb information.

Help me prepare better presentations

Prepare PowerPoint Presentations Differently

So, when you next switch on PowerPoint ask yourself first whether this really is the best way to communicate your point. Sometimes, a report, a talk or an email can be more effective. And PowerPoint is NOT a planning tool.  You should only use PowerPoint at the end of your presentation planning process.

Put yourself into your audience’s shoes and imagine what they are experiencing. PowerPoint can be powerful, but only if you use it properly. Avoid PowerPoint Presentation mistakes.

Help me prepare better presentations

Start preparing better PowerPoint presentations now

Download our free ebook to start your journey towards becoming a Powerful Presenter. You’ll learn our 5-step process for transforming your presentations: inspirational, memorable and persuasive.

It’s full of practical tips and insights:

  • Increase your confidence
  • Persuade your audience
  • Engage your audience
  • Plan and structure your talks

Download your free copy of our Five Steps to Transform your Leadership Talks ebook now.

Help me prepare better presentations

For more information and a free consultation, contact our customer services director Louise Angus today. 

You will work with award-winning coaches who regularly support senior executives. 

Our coaching costs just £395/hr.  And we work very fast.

Contact Louise Today

Contact us for a chat about how we can help you with your presenting.

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