sly : marketing

Avoid Really Bad PowerPoint

You should consider PowerPoint presentations as part of your marketing, and keep in mind that there’s nothing more frustrating than having to attend a really bad PowerPoint presentation.

I am working at a college, and I have seen my share of bad PowerPoint presentations, and most likely, I will be seing them in the future as well.

But here are some advice (and hopefully some of my colleagues are reading this as well).

If you do a bad one, people will most likely not consider you as the champion you are. A really bad one can destroy your reputation, and it can hurt your sales (if you are trying to get a contract through your presentation) and it might not help your projects at all.

A really good PowerPoint presentation can do wonders for you. If you are looking for a way to get people to understand your point of view, then there’s nothing better than PowerPoint (I am not kidding).

Think of it as marketing, either of your projects, your business or yourself (or whatever you are up to). If you do it right, things will go your way… people will understand, and they will think of you as a champion.

You need to be emotional. If you don’t use emotion, your audience won’t care.

If you want to be really professional (I am not), then you make yourself cue cards, have them in your hand. The words you use in your presentation should reinforce the cue cards, and should not be identical. Create a written document that you can leave behind, people love this. If you tell them about this in the start of your presenation, they don’t have to take notes and they can keep track of what you are saying.

Now, here are a few tips on what to avoid. This is actually more important than what you should remember to do.

Never use more than six words on a slide.
Never use cheesy images
Never use really cool transitions
Never use sound effects that are part of PowerPoint
Never hand out printouts of your slides

The reason why you should never hand out printouts of your slides, is because they really don’t work that well without you. Remember, you should never use more than six words on a slide. This might sometimes make it hard for people to understand the true meaning without you (the champion).

I have seen people using cool transitions in their presenations, and the transitions are cool. That’s the problem, because it takes away the focus on the content, and the content is what should be important.

I remember one guy that had his mobile phone connected to his Mac (via bluetooth), he was changing his slides by touching his mobile phone. This was about two years ago (or maybe more), and that was the first time I had seen something like this, it was really cool and I was amazed. But guess what? I didn’t notice a word he was saying and his presentation was crap (but it was cool).

The reason you are using PowerPoint is because you are trying to communicate with your audience. Never stand next to it and read from the slides, it’s incredibly boring and most people can actually read themselves.

There are probably enough PowerPoint mistakes to write a blog about it, but I believe that if you follow the guidelines above and focus on emotions, you are doing something right.

I got the idea for this post by reading Seth Godin’s Free Prize Inside, and the bullets are from his post Really Bad PowerPoint. What’s important though is that I think that it’s very easy to relate, because most people have experienced really bad PowerPoint presentations – and we know why they were bad.

It’s time to do something about it 🙂

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