Retaining ‘power’ in your presentation


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.


4 Responses to Retaining ‘power’ in your presentation

  1. Mohd Nayyar Afaque says:

    “An eye opener for me”

    many time i do face such situation, wondering Why?
    now got the idea, surely going to work over it.

    Question- Do the colour scheme, design etc also play vital role in the presentation ?

  2. Afsar says:

    Dear Nayyar,
    Thanks for your comment. Yes, color scheme, design, even font size matter a lot. I intend to write more on this issue in subsequent posts.
    warm regards

  3. Tahmina says:

    Hi Afsar,
    It is an extremely useful advice. To keep the presentation light, short and soft hold the key.
    Also I would kindly to emphasise on the title of this post. It attracted my attention and it really has a deep philosophical meaning.
    Certainly, to retain the “power” during your speech following by a presentation is not an easy job. But, it has been always suggested to keep an “eye to eye” contact with your audience, feel it, address to it through intonation and try to understand. So, a pre-analyse of the audience will be also useful to scale our presentations. Sometimes a pre-test of the draft presentation with a colleague or friend is also useful.
    Finally, as you have been always suggested in some of your previous posts, it is important to “keep your clear objective” and be able to transfer it into the presentation, by using colour design, modern templates, short words, but also by “putting yourself into the shoes of others” to understand their expectation and interest.
    Thanks for this post, it is great. Now I think have to revise some of mine:)))

  4. vibha says:

    Very pertinent points Afsir, esp., your three questions. It is a good self check that MUST be done before making presentation to any audience.

    Even while using a powerpoint, if the presenter pays attention to all the four learning styles (thinking,feeling,reflecting and doing)of human beings and moderates the presentation by paying attention to speed,pauses,voice modulation,reflection and questions.

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