PowerPoint is probably the most used of the various software options available when preparing multimedia presentations. All of them allow you to produce a number of visual effects such as :

· Show bullet point slides
· Present graphics, graphs, and diagrams
· Add a variety of voice-overs and sound effects
· Use manual or automatic controls
· With the appropriate software you can range the speaking area
· Script your presentations
· Print handouts or presentation notes.

Unfortunately I am sure that you have all met the dreadful “Death by PowerPoint” presenter who uses 100 slides for a ten minute presentation; and then there’s the dedicated IT fan who incorporates all the available technology ~ just because he can!

The cliché is “Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean that you should” sometimes less is much more effective ~ especially with PowerPoint.

Here are some ideas to help you make your next PowerPoint presentation professional.

· Don’t use it just because you can ~ every part of your presentation must support your overall message. If it doesn’t then leave it out.

· Don’t let the PowerPoint become the presentation. You are the presenter and you must be in control. Personal identification with the audience is a large factor in having your message accepted.

· Do not use the automatic mode unless you are absolutely sure that you have timed it perfectly ~ including questions. And that’s where it usually falls down. In twenty years of being a professional trainer I have never, ever found that the people who ask the questions care one iota about my timing ~ so I always use manual advance.

· Always have a back up. Remember Murphy’s Law, if it can go wrong it will go wrong, and usually at the most inconvenient time as well. Don’t spend half your presentation time in trying to get the equipment working. If you can’t fix it immediately move onto the back up. It could be OHP, FlipCharts or White Board, but make sure that you include one of them, just in case.

· Check your laptop is fully charged and all the files you need are loaded before you leave home. When at the venue use mains power if possible, and always have a spare battery available, and finally

· Make sure that you arrive at the venue in plenty of time to set up your equipment, test the compatibility of your laptop with the data projectors, and I always have my presentation backed up on a flash drive. Murphy’s law!!

Using PowerPoint or any similar multimedia software can provide you with a powerful tool to enhance and support your presentation. However it should never be so technical and full of ‘bells and whistles” that it can hide the message. You are the presenter and your energy and enthusiasm will sell the message, not the IT gadgetry.
Want to know how to hold your audience’s attention without PowerPoint? Check out our website at www.trischel.com.au or email to info@trischel.com.au for information on our communication seminars and out one-on-one communication coaching.

Michele @ Trischel

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