Productive Presentations

Avoiding “Death by PowerPoint”

Recently we had a client request our help on an important presentation and it was the culture of the organization to support such presentations with slides.  Here are five key skill layers that we shared with them as we helped them with their presentation. In addition to PowerPoint these layers also apply to Keynote for Mac and any other presentation medium.

  1. Objective. In order for your presentation to be successful (productive!) and for your slides to support your presentation you need to be able to set clear objectives both for your presentation and for the slides supporting it.
  2. Content: You need to be able to identify the content necessary to achieve your objectives and, just as importantly, to eliminate content that does not support your objectives.
  3. Features: You need to be able to effectively manipulate the application’s features. This includes configuring slide masters, defining slide-to-slide transitions, structuring automation on the slide, inserting graphics, using alignment tools, etc.
  4. Presentation: This includes being able to ensure slide content supports the points you are making while the slide is displayed, how much and, more importantly, how little to put on the slide and how to position content on the slides so it doesn’t jump around (distractingly) as you change from slide to slide. This also includes consistency in positioning, colour, sizing and typeface (a more common failing than you might expect). Most notably, this includes understanding that slides SUPPORT your presentation; they are not THE presentation.
  5. Graphic Design: You must be able to create an effective overall design of your slides (colours, fonts, objects, template, etc.) so that it is current and supports your objectives.

Develop your skills in these five layers and you will find improved success in your presentations.

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