‘Twas the night before your presentation, when all thro’ the house…
You’ve created your slides,
And checked them all twice.
But will the points you’re portraying
Seem naughty or nice?
Santa Wouldn’t Like this Clause…
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Say what? It’s easier to say he can’t get down the chimney. Forget giving the gift of corporate lingo gab! Entice, engage and enlighten or you’ll go up in flames like a yule log. Use real words in your presentation.
Deck the Halls with Pictures
You not only want people to remember your messages, you want them talking about what you said around the office. That’s not going to happen if you cut and paste stuff you find on the Internet or mix and match slides from presentations past and present. Clipart won’t help. But people are more likely to remember things if they see a picture of it. That’s called the Picture Superiority Effect. Make sure your images back up your messages.
Sleigh Them with Headlines
Plow through the slush by creating strong headlines that stick. Sentence fragments and labels like Q4 Highlights will leave your audience feeling cold. A Headline like Strong December Numbers Drive 4th Quarter gets the point across. Your goal is to get your message across at a glance…and then provide the proof.
Give Frosty Some Teeth
Don’t snow your audience with woolly, unclear slides that leave them guessing what you’re talking about. Every slide deserves a sharp, clear, point. One that your audience can instantly get. As a presenter, you need to learn how to build a deck that has points, and learn how to sharpen them.
All is Clear, All is Bright
Muddy messaging and slushy slides happen when there is no solid foundation. Your presentation must be built on a solid structure. That – almost always – comes in 3 parts. A hook, to get people on the edge of their seats, the meat, how you organize the content of your presentation, and the payoff, the conclusion or call to action.
Don’t Blitzen with Bullets
There could be a Dasher for the exits if you do. Bullet points are for “phone-it-in” presenters. Occasionally bullets work, but never load more than three on a slide…and only if you feel like there’s a gun to your head. The real ammunition behind making a powerful point starts with delivering bulletproof presentations.
Even Santa Needs a Little Present Elf
It’s time for you to present. You’re not Steve Jobs, Richard Branson or some smooth talking politician, but you don’t have to be. There are many different types of presenters. Play to your strengths and think of PowerPoint as your sidekick. Work together — even Santa needs a little help.
Gavin is a founding partner at fassforward consulting group. He blogs about PowerPoint, Presenting, Communication and Message Discipline at makeapowerfulpoint.com. You can follow him on twitter @powerfulpoint.