PowerPoint can be a great aid to use to support your speech however, it can also work against you. Rather than enhance what you are saying to your audience, if not used properly it can actually turn your audience off completely. Here are some top tips to consider the next time you need to write a presentation.
1. Before you even get to your computer, consider what your subject is and what you need to cover. Have you done your research and is everything correct? What are your objectives? Are you trying to persuade, entertain, inform etc? How long does it need to be and finally, what is the outcome that you are looking to achieve?
2. Once you have a clear agenda or story, break down your main ideas into bite-sized statements for each of your slides. This will help you control the length of your presentation and decide what needs to be there and what doesn’t need its own slide.
3. Choose a single background to your presentation and use it throughout. If you use a different background it will look ill prepared and distracting. By all means use the tools that PowerPoint has to float words onto the screen or fade in or out, but don’t over use these. Keep it simple and clear.
4. Use simple and clear fonts ensuring the text is big enough. Think about the audience in the back, they need to see what you have written too.
5. Use bullet points rather than sentences. You only want to give your audience a snapshot of what you are going to talk about, not the whole of your speech. When you are presenting try not to read from the screen either. Your audience can already read your presentation. When you go through each point, that’s when you can elaborate.
6. Use key words to emphasise your points. Use strong punchy words that get the point across without giving away everything.
7. Make sure that your slides follow a logical order. Nothing is more off putting than a presentation that jumps all over the place. Think about a story needing a beginning, middle and end.
8. Use pictures. If they support your presentation then use pictures to support your key points. It will help to keep your audience interested and engaged.
9. Avoid a lot of text and too many slides. If you have ever heard the saying ‘Death by PowerPoint’ this is why. The more your audience needs to read, the less they will listen to you and the more what you are saying will fall flat.
10. Rehearse and time your presentation. Sounds obvious, but lack of preparation before your presentation will show. You need your words and your PowerPoint presentation to work in complete harmony. You are only able to see if your speech and presentation works together if you present it out loud. Present to a friend or family member and ask for honest feedback. By the time you are ready to deliver your presentation, you will be confident that your PowerPoint presentation and your speech meets all of the points mentioned in tip 1.
Bonus Tip: Love what you are presenting. Passion comes across in your voice, so enjoy your subject and good luck !