Powerpoint slides are not supposed to be your lecture notes littered with bullets reminding you what to say next.
Instead, slides should be used to enhance your message and make it more memorable. Thats it.
Go through your next slide deck and make sure each slide is critical to your message. If not important, throw it out.
Here are some common mistakes we make with our slide decks:
- We treat slides as our lecture notes and pepper with every thought we have on the subject
- We use poor graphics and illustrations to make our point
- We use complicated charts and diagrams that are often difficult to understand visually
- We fill up slides with paragraphs
- We think our slide deck is our presentation
- We use awful PowerPoint animations that detract from our message
These are mistakes Im sure weve all made.
And this isnt anyones fault.
Most of us have never taken classes in how to present information. Most of us just use slides the way weve seen others present.
Well, today its time to start changing the way we present information.
Here are some steps to make your deck more memorable:
1. Write out your lecture notes first before creating slides.
Hold yourself back from diving into PowerPoint the moment youre ready to create your next presentation. The biggest problem in making our slide decks is that we treat them like our notes. Instead of clicking the PowerPoint icon, write out your notes on a document to start getting all your ideas down on paper.
2. After youve written out your presentation notes, choose your central points (or arguments) as slide headers
Now that youve finished writing out your thoughts, you can begin choosing your core points to be the message on your slide. I suggest using complete sentences as slide headers so that people will read a complete thought. Each slide should have one sentence that can stand on its own and should be vital to your main message.
3. Choose helpful images that strengthen your message on your slide deck not corny clip art.
We all love good imagery on a slide deck so choose quality images that empower your slide. Dont feel like you need to have images, so dont choose cheesy graphics just because you want something to take up space. It would be better to have a slide deck with just black words on a white screen then to add a corny clip art that will literally cheapen your message. You may even consider using an image instead of words to make your point.
4. Edit your deck and remove any slide that is not noteworthy.
Every slide should strengthen your message and help people listening to you understand your key points. Any slide that doesnt do this should be removed. Any slide that can be simply said by you (and not needed to be enhanced visually) should be removed. You want every slide to be worth reading so that your audience finds each slide helpful and noteworthy.
5. Know your slide deck well enough so you can present even if your computer or projector dies.
To make your next presentation more effective, you want people looking and learning from you not your slide deck. So know your presentation well enough that you dont need to rely or even look at the slides. Know the order of all your slides (or the very least) what content will appear on the next slide to help you with transitions. This means taking the time to study your own material but this will help you gain confidence and help you present far better.