Power(less) Point

I sat through not one, but TWO genuinely awful presentations from good companies with solid products this week. This was a good reminder of a blog topic – effective use of PowerPoint.

As a former college speech instructor, I would remind you that PowerPoint is a tool, it isn’t your presentation. A good presentation tells a story, has a structure, and is SUPPORTED by a presentation tool like PowerPoint. Bad structure = bad presentation. The world’s best PowerPoint can’t make up for a poorly constructed presentation structure.

With that said, I often develop in PowerPoint as it parallels my thought process. But, when you do this, be sure to return with a critical eye and do some judicial editing. That final PowerPoint should serve as signposts on the journey of your presentation, as well as providing some key emphasis on critical takeaways.

With that in mind, here are a few pointers:

  • One sentence or thought per bullet. Maximum. And no more than five bullets per slide.
  • Any point with subpoints should have at least two subpoints – if you have less than this do some reworking until it can collapse upward.
  • If you have to add a “key takeaway” in writing to your slide(s) then you haven’t done your job – it should be obvious if you’ve supported your arguments.
  • Black type on white background with your logo is BORING. At least try the supplied templates, or better still have a talented agency like us design you a brand-appropriate master template.
  • People like pictures. Sprinkle a few appropriate ones in. Try monkeys –  everyone likes monkeys (that was sarcasm, if you missed it!).
  • A PowerPoint is not a technical white paper. A screen filled with 8 point mouse type is illegible at any distance over 6′.

As a presentation guru I once heard speak said: Be Bright. Be Brief. Be Gone.