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?

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Start preparing better PowerPoint presentations now

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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.

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