Advanced PowerPoint: 3 Tips The Pros Use

by drjim on August 31, 2010

Great Looking PowerPoint Slides Are Easy To Create – If You Know How

Great Looking PowerPoint Slides Are Easy To Create – If You Know How

PowerPoint is a double edged sword when it comes to giving a speech: it can be both a powerful way to add a multimedia impact to your speech or it can end up distracting your audience and taking their attention away from what you have to say. The experts know how to use this tool correctly and here are three of the ways they tame the PowerPoint beast…

It’s All About Look & Feel

The PowerPoint slides that a speaker uses to augment their speech should look professional. Now this doesn’t mean that they needed to be done by an expensive design house, just that they shouldn’t look like they were put together by an amateur (even if they were!)

The most important part of this is to make sure that the slides have a consistent look and feel to them. The first step in making this happen is to decide on a PowerPoint template and then use it for your entire presentation.

However, that’s not quite enough. All too often I see presenters who’ve had a presentation that has been force-fit into a new template. That it doesn’t fit is pretty clear because the text and images spill over the edges and on top of the template’s decorations.

As a presenter it’s your responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. Review your slides and make sure that they are living in harmony with the template that you are using.

Getting From Here To There

PowerPoint is a powerful tool. It has a lot of features that either enhance your presentation or take away from it depending on how you use them. One such feature is the “slide transitions”.

When you move from one slide to the next, PowerPoint can do a number of amazing things on the screen. These are what is called a transition. Transitions can range from the simple (old slide fades away only to be replaced by the new slide) to the complex (new slide zooms out from the center of the screen).

My advice to you here is to keep it simple. Just as your PowerPoint slides should not overwhelm your speech so too should your transitions not overwhelm your slides. If your audience is eagerly awaiting seeing your next transition, then you’ve done something wrong.

PowerPoint will let you use a different type of transition for each slide. Don’t do this. Instead pick one type of transition and stick with it for the entire presentation.

No Surprises

Technology is a wonderful thing – until it turns on you! The professional speakers know that although the PowerPoint presentation that they put together while sitting at their desk looked one way, it might not look that way when they are standing in front of an audience.

There are a lot of reasons for this: you might be using a different computer, the display system might change one color into another color, etc. The way to overcome such surprises is to be prepared.

When you are going to use PowerPoint slides as a part of a presentation, always try to show up early in order to run through your slides on the system that will be used to display them and in the space where you’ll be giving your speech.

The reason that you want to do this is that you’ll be able to see what your audience will eventually be seeing. Issues with a slide being too dark, the colors being messed up, or some other technical snafu can be quickly identified and corrected on the spot.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers, we all need to make use of whatever tools we have available. PowerPoint is one such tool. However, if not used correctly, PowerPoint can actually end up diminishing the impact of our speech.

We can avoid the pitfalls and make the most of PowerPoint if we follow some simple rules. Making sure that all of the slides in our presentation have a common look and feel is important. Picking a slide transition that doesn’t distract from our slides and then using it consistently will boost our impact. Finally, taking the time to preview how our slides are going to look before a presentation can prevent any technical glitches from showing up.

Technology is here to stay and speakers need to learn how to harness it. By using PowerPoint the way that the pros do, you can create and deliver powerful multimedia presentations that will leave your audience saying to themselves “That looked professionally done…”

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that just skipping using any fancy transitions would be the best way to go?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So I’m not sure if there is really any big payoff for taking the time to write about how to become a better speaker; however, if there is, then it’s in getting the opportunity to review new books. Oh, andI get the books for freewith no obligation to give a good review – how cool is that?

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