Retaining ‘power’ in your presentation

November 30, 2010

 

I was attending a big conference. One speaker made a long presentation, took some fifteen minutes extra to finish his 30 something slides, and then invited questions from the audience. No question came. The audience looked bored and sleepy. He had lost them completely. I am sure we all have come across such situations. Time to think what we can do to make our presentations interesting!

Microsoft power point is certainly is a wonderful tool, allowing us to use graphic elements, pictures, videos as well as background music in our presentations. It’s usage is almost universal, be it a business meeting, a sales pitch, an educational or awareness event. Some people excel at it and are known as great presenters but there are some who can really test the patience of their audience.

How do we go about developing our presentation? There are plenty of books and guidelines on the subject. Based on all the good presentations that I have seen, I feel the most important lesson is to keep the presentation light. Too much information on slides and too many slides make the presentation boring. And this is one of the commonest errors people make. We should not convey everything through slides. Slides are meant to capture key points or words and provide a structure to our presentation.

Three questions, if asked to self and addressed, once we finish preparing our presentation, can really help:

– Can I reduce the text on each slide?

– Can I reduce the number of slides, and

– What am I going to speak on each slide?

Less is more is the basic rule in effective communication. We can always reduce the text as well as number of slides if we make an attempt. Nothing could be more boring than simply reading the text on slides. We must keep the presentation light and interesting in order to retain its power.