Like many working people who have desk jobs, we’ve all been in countless meetings with long, and sometimes boring slides. Slide after slide, graph after graph, bullet points after bullet points. They can just drag on like there’s no end in sight. A person’s attention span can only last so long, and it’s important to capture the audience’s attention quickly to keep them engaged. As someone who has presented countless times, I’m guilty as charged. Charged with disorderly slide creations, confusing context and flat out being boring. But don’t get me wrong, I’ve attended some very good meetings with great slide management and presentation skills.
I think I learned a few things for the next PPT I create:
- Context: Set the context of the presentation first. Communicate to the audience what the goal of the presentation is. What should they get out of it? Keep it simple. Your audience wants to know why they need to be there.
- Less Animation: Animation is something for Pixar to handle. It may add some flare to your presentation, but don’t overdo it. Using Fly-ins, Spinners and Dissolve for everything isn’t going to win over your audience. I generally like to use “appear” when I need to show each item in a list one at at time.
- Less Text, more Talking: One of my pet peeves about presentations is writing exactly what you want to say right on the slide itself. My personal thought on this is that the presenter loses a little credibility when you read what’s right on the slide. That tells me that they don’t know the content as well as they should. Take away the sentences, keep the bullets short.
- Fewer Slides: I wouldn’t put a number on this. Your presentation should be long enough to convey the message. Period. I worked for a company that had a presentation slide deck that had 135 slides. No, that’s not a typo. 135! What kind of person would want to flip through all of those slides and memorize each one? Let alone, an audience who wants to sit through that torture!
- Smooth Operator: Keep talking. Transition from one slide to another smoothly by making sure the following slide has the correct content that was based on the prior slide. That is, make sure you don’t make it seem like the presentation jumps around back and forth.
I think this about sums it up. I may not be the best at this, and everyone has their own style. This is mine and what I like to see and practice. Or at least I try to.