Get Power Point Right

All right,  we’re concluding the  “make the most of summer”  theme by taking a look at Power Point and how we can buff up our expertise.  As we all know,  a vital ongoing business goal for Freelancers is staying visible within our client and referral pool.  That means one of your objectives as we approach September and the fourth quarter is to nail down a speaking gig at a business or professional association that is frequented by potential clients and referral sources.  That could cause you to use Power Point.

The technology has been around for 20 years but most people,  including frequent users,  still get Power Point wrong.  We put too much stuff on our slides.  Someone tells us we should liven things up and recommends that we use Clip Art,  so we throw that in plus some cheesy slide transitions,  too,  to make sure that our audience stays awake.  We use too many slides because we depend on Power Point like a crutch to move our presentation along,  rather than using our words and insights to create the flow.

I understand that when teaching a course there will be perhaps many slides and more text than in a presentation for a meeting or conference.  Nevertheless,  instructors and presenters need to unchain themselves from Power Point tyranny and learn to use the technology to its full advantage.  Here are a few guidelines that will help you to finally get Power Point right:

  • Tell a compelling story that the audience will value and understand.  The story must have a beginning,  middle and end.
  • Frame the big issue that you must address at the beginning; then discuss the major challenges and opportunities that will impact that challenge; state the solution at the end.  Conclude with a summary of key points to wrap things up.
  • Distill the major points: give broad strokes and avoid complex details.
  • Sprinkle in a few relevant charts and graphs that support your story.  They also provide visual interest.
  • Use bullet points.  Communicate in short and powerful statements,  not paragraphs.
  • Do not clutter your slides with text.  Do not use  “busy”  charts or graphs.  Make the slides clear and easy to read.
  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Keep the fonts consistent and background colors and designs appropriate to your topic and audience.  Avoid Clip Art and distracting slide transitions.
  • Practice your presentation and ensure that your dialogue and slides work together smoothly.
  • Be enthusiastic,  be confident and engage your audience.  Have fun!


Thanks for reading,



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