Why Your Presentations Are Terrible
Oh the joy of making a presentation. Messing with font sizes, trying to position a picture or two that never seem to be in the right spot, and frantically trying to finish the presentation just before it’s go time. And then… The presentation happens. You think you did great. But in reality, it was terrible (sorry to be frank).
(Note: I use PowerPoint, but Prezi is pretty good, and you should try it)
I’ve seen so many people try to read from a PowerPoint directly word for word. It absolutely drives me crazy. The whole point of the PowerPoint is to facilitate the transfer of information, not replace it. Too many times I have seen presenters, their faces facing away from the audience and reading in a monotonous tone. They might as well not be there. People can read text fine, thank you very much, unless the font size is tiny, in which case — I just don’t understand… ****It’s not a essay!!!***** WHY is it on the PowerPoint? And since all the information is displayed in front of you, why would the audience bother to listen to your boring monotonous voice. First off, it’s too slow (or too fast), and usually doesn’t match with the audiences read speed, and 9/10 times it sounds boring (just like reading a complete speech written on note cards, you don’t remember to use inflections or look up)
So make your audience is more engaged by following these tips:
- No paragraphs. No one want to read it, or listen to you read it. Pictures are worth a thousand words. (Or substituting in this case). It’s neat and effective (and can help add some humor, because positive attitudes improve rapport).
- Have keywords or sentences that summarize main points. Show only these on your slide. These words should key you in on what to talk about (to make sure you go through all the main ideas and don’t leave off information — Why would you cut information that you worked so long to prepare)
- If you have something that is off-topic, add a some text (a bit humorous?). It makes it optional, and doesn’t make your presentation go overtime with non-important info, but this adds some depth and information for those who want it.
- Elegance, not beauty. Don’t try and make the font fancy. It just reduces readability. And frustrates your audience as they try to decode the text. (So NO Brush Script, Zapfino or Comic Sans — The latter because, well, it isn’t a professional font)
- Don’t ever say- “We’ll get to that in a moment” – if you introduce the audience to a term. Don’t make it so that the audience have to hold unexplained concepts in their head. They will forget. YOU HAVE TO explain it when you unveil it. If you explain that term later on another slide, then the order in which your slides are organized are in the wrong order. If you don’t have that term explained… Well.. hope your audience knows it.
- Practice beforehand, maybe just once. Make sure you don’t end up repeating too much stuff, although main points are recommended to be repeated, to ensure that the audience actually heard it, because everyone once in a while will zone off.
- Tone, if you sound interested, the audience will feel more interested and energetic, since we naturally copy each others feelings. Sound professional (so don’t speak in a monotonous voice).
That’s all I have for you! Maybe top if off with a Q&A session and good job.
You have made 20 minutes of other people’s lives much more enjoyable.