Is bad PowerPoint to blame for all the world’s public speaking ills?
Well, to paraphrase the National Rifle Association’s infamous claim that guns don’t kill people, people kill people…
Bad PowerPoint Doesn’t Put Audiences to Sleep. Bad Presenters Put Audiences to Sleep!
Think about the leading causes of bad PowerPoint:
- Too much information (the presenter doesn’t know what point she’s trying to make!)
- Irrelevant information (the presenter hasn’t thought about how to make his point)
- Unreadable information (the presenter needs glasses?)
- Poorly visualized or unattractively presented information (ditto)
- Redundant information (the presenter is already asleep)
Consider this slide, which —with apologies to the beleaguered and hardworking folks at EPA — checks all, or almost all, of those boxes:
I could go on, but you get the idea. Bad PowerPoint results from insufficient thought about what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to, and why (the heck) they should care!
Fix that problem, and making good PowerPoint is easy.
Yes, There Is Good PowerPoint
In fact, PowerPoint can enrich your speech in many and varied ways, by giving you:
- Pictures and other visual cues (including data that’s easy to read and attractively presented) to keep your audience engaged.
- Verbal cues (yes, the bullet points) to guide your listeners’ understanding, and help them remember what you say.
- Clicking from one slide to the next can help you build anticipation by teasing the point you’re about to make.
- PowerPoint’s “Slide Sorter” feature is a great tool for visualizing the overall structure of your talk, and keeping all of your points in balance.
- I use PowerPoint thumbnails to create customized speaking scripts that contain only the information I’ll need onstage.
With so much to offer — and such broad acceptance of PowerPoint in the business world — wouldn’t you like to learn how PowerPoint can enhance your next presentation?If so, contact me, and we’ll turn your PowerPoint from bad (or even OK) to good.