Powerpoint presentations; a quick word before you start

Over the past month, I have been asked to advise or help with several presentations.

I could easily have directed people to some wonderful help sights and told them to get on with it. One of my favourites is “slideshare“, and specifically the guide which encourages to steal the presentation. Worth the 5 minute browse.

If you want something more hands on, consider the critiques on Steve Jobs. These really tell you how to be simple but effective.

And of course there is the now ubiquitous 10/20/30 rule, as proposed by Guy Kawasaki.

Now, I am no tech wizard with microsoft tools. I am no genius with choosing new fonts of colours. I do encourage people to think differently before even drawing up the initial slide.

We all know the situation. You have to prepare something. And the first question is often along the lines of: “Right, what shall I tell them”.

For me, this is the wrong starting point. How about considering:-

  • Who is my audience?
  • What message do I want them to take away?
  • What action items do I want them to follow up on?

A little bit of thought beyond the immediacy of yourself will help you to generate a much more powerful creation. And here are some examples of what I mean, when this action is not taken.

How many start ups use multiple slides to describe their tech, when an investor simply wants to know what and when they are going to receive a return? Or consider the inventor who is so chuffed explaining his tech can do that he forgot to explain how it can be monetized?

And how many presentations have you seen when all the speaker does is effectively read from the slide, which is usually so full of text that the font is annoyingly small? Not much left for the audience to do but go to sleep.

 Bottom line: as YOU start planning YOUR presentation, think about OTHERS.

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2 Comments on “Powerpoint presentations; a quick word before you start”

  1. Vesta Remak Says:

    Thanks for this post. I inevitably agree with what you are saying. I have been talking about this subject a lot lately with my father so maybe this will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!

  2. Peter Bowler Says:

    Having a high regard for your audience is a great place to start your PowerPoint presentation. Knowing your audience and their needs really does help when thinking about the message you want your audience to take away.


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