So how do you make your next PowerPoint presentation a good ‘un?

Thursday, May 20th, 2010 by Simon Morton

Welcome back to those who are eager to learn how to get past the 3 main culprits behind bad presentations, for those of you who don’t know what we’re on about read our last blog!

So here are the 3 steps (and please, people – it’s important they’re done in this order!)

1.  The Message Creation Phase

Right at the beginning of every presentation you do – ask yourself some simple questions:

  • What is it you are trying to achieve with this presentation?
  • What is it you want your audience to remember now and later?
  • How will you measure the success of your presentation?

Answering these questions is crucial as this will lead you to your PRESENTATION MESSAGE (quite an important ingredient un any successful presentation, we’re sure you agree).

Eyeful Beermat

Inspiration on the back of a beermat

Now you have that message keep it well and truly close to you – it should be at the heart of everything you do with this presentation. If your proposed content doesn’t help you get the message across, drop it…you don’t need it. 

2. Telling the story

So now you have a message, you need to build a story that gets this message across to your audience.

This stage is not easy, but it is very important – get it wrong and no-one will know what your key message is and the work you’ve done in stage 1 is all for nowt.

As most of us have reams and reams of data, pictures and the like, the biggest challenge is editing down the information you have. Only use the bare minimum as more than that leads to data overload for your audience.

Deciding what to use and what not to use is only the first part of the job. Once you’ve done this you need to put it together so it builds a story for your audience.

Get that story right and your audience will go away with the key message. By the same token, get it wrong and they’ll leave none the wiser.

3. Visual clarity

As we highlighted in the previous blog this is where many people start, believing that opening up PowerPoint and whacking in some good pictures is all they need to do. Obviously you’ve now been through steps 1 and 2 so you’re ahead of the game but it’s now very important to make sure you underpin your message and the story delivering it with the best visuals.

The old cliche “a picture paints a thousand words” is still used today because it is spot on. But it is also important to remember what we said in number 1 – only use stuff that underpins your message.

A random picture that looks great is only a random looking great picture and won’t help tell your story.

So there they are – a brief look at the 3 main stages that will get you past the issues we looked at last time.

We’ve taken a whistle stop tour of a complex area here and its worth looking at these in more depth – but from now on make sure you use these 3 when you put a presentation together.

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