Public Speaking: The Right Way to Use PowerPoint

May 4th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

dreamstime_3267878[1]It seems the majority of presenters love to use PowerPoint to help them with their presentations. As discussed in previous posts, PowerPoint is an easy crutch that enables the speaker to read directly off the slides, and it helps divert audience attention from the speaker to the screen. This can take the pressure off the presenter, as nobody is looking at him/her and there is no chance of forgetting anything (it’s all up there on the screen).

Oddly, the presenters who use this tactic don’t realize that they are giving the audience exactly what they don’t want – a boring presentation at which they are being read to. My first suggestion is to avoid PowerPoint entirely – if possible. Your audience will be refreshed and they will appreciate YOU!

That said, I’ve used Keynote (Mac’s version of PowerPoint) and it has added to the impact of my presentation. Here is why:

1) I never read anything off the screen (except for a quote).

2) I usually show a picture (stock or custom photography) that underscores a point I’ve made.

3) Embedding a SHORT and relevant video clip can really wow them.

4) A simple graph that makes a single point can clarify.

5) A relevant and humorous cartoon can add a nice touch to your presentation.

Audiences loathe seeing numbers and words on PowerPoint. They love to see pictures, graphs and quick videos.

Presenters love to see words and numbers on PowerPoint because it protects them from having to memorize and shields them from audience attention.

As a presenter, you need to make a mutually-exclusive choice. Do you do what is easiest for you or your audience?

More on public speaking and PowerPoint.

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3 Responses to “Public Speaking: The Right Way to Use PowerPoint”

  1. Target Intellect Blog » Dead time kills your presentation…DEAD Says:

    [...] 4) Index cards: If you rely on index cards for notes, be sure to number them to avoid excessive fumbling should you drop them.  If you rely on powerpoint for notes see here. [...]

  2. Target Intellect Blog » Public Speaking 19 Deadly Delivery Mistakes Says:

    [...] Reading off slides is probably the #1 way to turn off your audience. Most public speakers do [...]

  3. Target Intellect Blog » Public Speaking: PowerPoint Says:

    [...] Add impact to your presentation using PowerPoint. [...]

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