Presentations are a part of our daily life. We talk to someone, we are presenting. We get on to a stage, we present our views. We make PowerPoint Presentations for meetings and clients. Even just standing in front of people can be called as a presentation. You are presenting yourself, your conduct.
All these instances demand preparation. Now, you can argue- com’on Saumya! I won’t prepare to talk to a colleague or another person. That’s just ridiculous.
But it’s not. The preparation in this instance would not be something that you do just before this presentation. It is the work and effort that you’ve put in over the years into self-improvement. Yes, it is that much of an effort.
The presentations become obvious in formal settings. Giving a speech, presenting your ideas or opinions, presenting PowerPoints. We’ll talk about the other presentations at length in upcoming blogs. The focus for this this one is CREATING IMPACTFUL POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS (PPT).
Just like any meticulous task, some groundwork needs to be laid down before beginning to make a presentation. This pre-presentation phase will determine the success of a presentation. More often than not, a PowerPoint Presentation is made with a set goal in mind. It is extremely important to understand the purpose of the presentation.
Once you are clear with the purpose and the topic at hand, you need to start your research. Don’t just dive into making the presentation.
While researching, pay special attention to the 5W’s and 1H.
Once you have all the required material, begin work on your presentation. Following are some key points to remember whenever creating a PowerPoint Presentation (PPT):
No. of Slides
- The more the number of slides, the more complex it gets and the attention of the participants is lost.
- Keep the number of slides to the minimum.
- Use a single word or sentence and then elaborate as you present.
- Use bullet points wherever possible.
- Much like the language I adopt for my posts, the language used in the PPT. and during the actual presentation should be easy to understand. It should be simple and understandable to all.
- Jargon and slang should be avoided.
- Abbreviated words should be used only after using the full form for the first time. Do not assume that people know the full forms.
- Adding too many images will cause confusion and distraction.
- The presenter and the audience may lose their flow of thoughts.
- Images speak louder than words.
- Try to use images and flow charts to simplify the subject.
One Thought per Slide
- Cover a single sub-topic in a slide.
- Do not overlap sub-topics in the same slide.
Effective Use of Quotations
- Powerful quotations can do the trick of conveying messages faster and in an efficient manner and get the audience thinking.
- Remember to give credit to the author.
The Final Slide
- End with a ‘Thank You’ slide so that the audience is aware that it is the end of the session.
- They will also be ready to ask questions and hence, any kind of confusion is reduced.
- The content in the PPT shouldn’t put strain on the eyes of the audience or the presenter.
- Font size and style should be such that it can be read by a person standing in the farthest corner of the room.
- Use fonts that are common to all versions of MS Office.
- Use ‘italics’ and ‘bold’ for emphasis.
- Avoid all UPPER CASE. It is considered shouting in the internet language.
Theme and Templates
- Use templates matching the need of the topic/subject.
- Choose the theme based on the audience.
- Do not use unnecessary sound and animation in between the presentation. These are a distraction and may lead to confusion.
- Background should be simple.
- Contrast well between the foreground (text, images) and the background.
Presenting the Presentation
The task doesn’t get completed with the completion of the PPT. After the PPT has been made, the ginormous task of presenting it comes into action. No, it is not a less important task. You could have made the best PPT ever but if the presentation is not up to the mark, the entire PPT will fall flat.
Just like the Pre-PPT stage, there is also a Pre- Presentation stage. The following are the steps involved in Pre-Presentation:
The presentation techniques vary slightly according to the context. Let’s look at 4 such contexts:
- Decide whether to use a podium or walk around.
- If it is a large audience and a big place, arrange for a microphone (mic), preferably a collar mic. Check the working of the mic.
- Use a remote control to navigate through the slides.
- Make sure you are formally dressed.
- This typically follows a classroom arrangement.
- The size of the audience is small and can be controlled.
- It is a lecture mode of presentation where most of the communication is done by the presenter.
- Doubts, if any are cleared.
- Feedback is gathered.
- Semi-formal attire may be acceptable based on the audience you are going to address.
- This is a less formal setup.
- It is usually conducted in a boardroom or any other private space.
- It is a presentation along with a discussion session.
- A mic is usually not required.
- You may use a white board/flip chart and markers.
- Casual dressing style maybe adopted.
- It involves a lot of discussions around the presentation.
- Be prepared for questions and disagreements to your ideas.
- The slides are minimal.
- Be prepared with your research notes.
- Keep the white board/ flip charts, markers, sticky notes ready.
- Dress like you usually do to enhance creativity.
Do’s for the Presentation as a Whole
Before the Presentation
- Arrive early.
- Check seating arrangement.
- Keep prompt cards ready.
- Proof read.
- Have handouts ready.
During the Presentation
- Maintain time.
- Explain the points with anecdotes.
- Be aware of your body language.
- Mention the time to handle questions.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Use humour. But don’t overdo it.
- Check the tone, pace, volume of your voice.
After the Presentation– Handling Questions
- Anticipate areas of possible questions so that you are prepared and quick.
- Repeat the question out loud to ensure that you have understood it well. But don’t repeat every question.
- Answer to the point and do not beat around the bush.
- Refer to your presentation, if possible. This shows wholesome research.
- Be friendly and keep your cool.
- In case you do not know the answer, say that you will get back.
Don’ts for the Presentation as a Whole
- Don’t read directly from the slides.
- Don’t use too much jargon.
- Don’t use too many short forms.
- Don’t have inappropriate pauses.
- Don’t be rooted to one place.
- Don’t use small fonts.
- Don’t apologize unnecessarily.