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How to avoid death by PowerPoint


How to avoid death by PowerPoint 

Hartford

Picture credit: hartfordbusiness.com

If you are gainfully employed chances are that at one point or another you will need to hold a presentation. Most commonly Microsoft’s presentation software PowerPoint is used in helping you with that task. Most common mistake made is to think that PowerPoint is your presentation. Quite to the contrary, it is a mere tool and the presentation is all about YOU, the presenter. Use an increase in self-awareness to combat this issue.

Just think back and reflect upon the most annoying presentations that you have sat through and you wanted to find ways to get out of the room. There are some commonalities among ones where presenters made the mistake of thinking that PowerPoint will make the point for them:

  • Bullet points that are essays
  • Reading off of the bullet list – word for word
  • Turning around constantly to find out what is on the next slide
  • Pictures and clip art that detract from the point(s)
  • Charts and graphs that detract from the point(s)
  • 50 slides for a 10 minute presentation
  • Being glued to the lectern
  • Using body language as if it was a telephone pole

PowerPoint is nothing more than a tool, period. I am no stranger to making the above mentioned mistakes either. What really helped me improve my presentations is contained in the following strategies:

  • Videotape your presentations and watch it later – it is amazing what you can learn from it
  • Ask your audience, but even more so really candid co-workers and friends for their feedback once you have held presentations
  • Run through your presentation aloud; yes, the whole show. If possible do this with folks whom you know are not going to hold anything back from you

When you increase your self-awareness you will likely be able enjoying really successful presentations. You will also no longer think about you PowerPoint as being the presentation, but you will become a much more confident presenter. What is more powerful than that? It will also make sure that you could run a presentation even if key technology fails on you and you would have to run totally without your PowerPoint stuff (think about that one!).

Ralf

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