Keld Jensen - Speaker
Article shared from Forbes.com
The use of PowerPoint
I have just published my latest book on communication “Positive Impact”. The book is helping you improving your personal impact through the understanding of behavioral economics, trust and communication. It was nominated best management book of the year in Denmark when released in Scandinavia.
PowerPoint presentations have not always been a major force in communications within businesses, but since the 1990s and throughout the 2000s they have been steadily replacing more traditional means of business communication.
Email is still the preferred communication tool in business. After that comes PowerPoint.
There are millions of PowerPoint users in the world and the number is growing rapidly. As a consequence, we also see a growing number of presentations. Even though PowerPoint presentations are produced at a rate not previously seen, the standard of quality and professionalism hasn’t changed much. It is actually quite bad and only about 4% of all presentations have the professional touches and content that conform with guidelines from leading communication experts.
The situation becomes even more terrifying when you calculate the time spentpreparing these presentations, and perhaps more importantly, the time spent in their delivery – which means presenter time plus audience time. As illustrated earlier, time wasted on presentations means large sums of wasted money every year. This is why there is such great value in improving your PowerPoint presentations, both in preparation and in delivery.
If we compare the two most widely-used means of communication, email and PowerPoint, we do find some major differences. The recipient of an email can choose to ignore or even delete it, if it appears to be irrelevant or a waste of time. When attending a PowerPoint presentation, however, you are likely to be stuck in your seat until the end, hoping you’ll eventually leave the room with something useful in tow.
Compared to other common forms of communication, a PowerPoint presentation is different in many ways. For instance, books and bulky reports take many hours, weeks or even months to make ready for distribution. A PowerPoint presentation usually takes less than 24 hours to prepare, often considerably less. Delivery usually takes about 60 minutes, including set-up and take-down.
Similar to a book or report, a PowerPoint presentation very often ends up being a one-way form of communication, with little or no interaction between presenter and audience. It is far more effective, though, where the audience can get involved and become an active part of the presentation.
Audience involvement can be brought about by using open questions, playing games, or through other activities. But beware – unless the content and its delivery are interesting and engaging all on their own, you’re not likely to get much willing involvement, no matter what questions you ask or games you offer.
A PowerPoint presentation should to be regarded as the storyboard and screenplay of a great movie in which you are the narrator, the director and the lead character. A great deal of a movie’s success also hinges on another vital element: the supporting characters. This is why you need to get your audience involved – they are essentially the supporting characters in the “movie” you are producing. When you achieve this, your audience will leave with the feeling they have learned something and been part of the presentation. Hopefully they’ll feel they gained much more than they expected. Only then will you leave a lasting impact and be remembered!
Delegate your tasks
Instead of spending most of your time figuring out details such as how to arrange the graphics in your presentation, or how to add tables, as a presenter you need to focus on how to deliver the most important messages of your presentation.
The following is a general list of points that will help you manage your time and stay in control while preparing your next presentation:
- Draw things out on paper – lay out what you want your presentation to look like and what you want to include. Rough sketches of graphics, key words and headlines will do. The aim is to get the contents out of your head and down onto paper, so you’re better able to see what you have and work out what you want to present.
- Brainstorm on your message – decide on your most important points, and how to deliver them in original ways. Consider images, elements and metaphors that will enhance your message and contents.
- Write your manuscript – as you write, think of ways to make your presentation more dynamic. Write the manuscript in Word while drawing your ideas on a piece of paper.
- Adjust the time you need for your presentation. As a rough rule of thumb, you should plan for one slide every two minutes. (This can vary greatly, though, depending on the type of presentation you’re giving.)
- Be consistent with regard to your graphics. Having a clear theme in terms of colors, graphic elements (borders, underlines, etc.), images, tables and so on will add continuity to your presentation and make it look like a single, well-integrated document.
- Choose your presentation personality according to how you want to deliver your most important messages (tone, atmosphere, feeling) and the sort of personality you want the audience to see.
- Rehearse each part of the presentation. You don’t have to know it all by heart, but you need to remember the presentation’s order and overall messages.
- Go through the entire presentation, either by yourself or in front of a test audience (one or more of your friends, family, colleagues).
- Proofread your final presentation and adjust where needed.
- Print a copy of your presentation in case PowerPoint or your computer or projector doesn’t work on presentation day.
As the above guide illustrates, a large part of a good presentation lies in the work that goes into preparing the presentation as a whole – rather than just the content and graphics, which people often spend the most time on.
Your personality is 93% of your presentation
In the end, it’s not so much about whether your graphicpresentation is good or bad – that is simply a part of the path to success. The largest factor in deciding whether your presentation is a success or not is you – not your PowerPoint, not the participants, not even the words you say. It depends primarily on your “PowerPoint personality.”
To be clearer, it is not necessarily your usual personality that is the deciding factor, but rather how you perform. And everyone can learn to perform well, even though it takes practice. A good speaker has practiced his presentation – both how to present it and what it contains. When you have made it absolutely clear in your own mind what you want to share with your audience and how to go about sharing it, it will be easier to do it right, and you’ll make a greater impact!
Therefore, by allocating a large part of the total time you spend on your presentation to the preparation stage, and providing you’re effective in how you go about preparing, you will be able to give your presentation in a confident, professional and natural manner.
Advice from the worlds best speakers
Here are 12 things you’ll see the biggest public speakers do when they deliver a presentation:
- Learn to get your audiences involved in your presentations – hold on to and build their interest and involvement, and they’ll listen to every word.
- Be passionate about your subject and your presentation, and share that passion with your audience.
- Save the best for last, and make sure the audience knows there’s something more in store for them.
- Present yourself with a high level of credibility.
- Show compassion and treat your audience as your equals.
- Speak loudly, clearly and with confidence
- Be a real person.
- Share a bit about yourself and the audience will tend to share, too.
- Tell your story to get the audience involved.
- Give the audience reason to admire you.
- Create messages that will help the audience tackle their own challenges.
- Coach the audience when you’re on stage.
Checklist: Seven essential steps to a better presentation
1. Delegate tasks when preparing your PowerPoint slides and your live presentation.
2. Avoid creating entire presentations all on your own. For example, use professionally created graphic content by downloading slides from
www.slideshop.com, or use their Design Service.
3. Create the perfect manuscript for your presentation, including catchy wording and eye-catching headlines.
4. Choose and use a personal style when composing and delivering your PowerPoint presentation.
5. Become aware of how you present yourself as a person when on stage.
6. Use metaphors and visual elements to keep the audience interested and make it easier for them to decode your messages.
7. Recycle your best slides.
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