Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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Don’t Become a Slave to Your Slides
Don’t Become a Slave to Your Slides
PowerPoint makes such beautiful slides that the temptation is to let them be
the show. That’s a big mistake. You are the show — not the slides. The slides
are merely visual aids, designed to make your presentation more effective,
not to steal the show.
Your slides should supplement your talk, not repeat it. If you find yourself
just reading your slides, you need to rethink what you put on the slides. The
slides should summarize key points, not become the script for your speech.
Don’t Overwhelm Your Audience with
Unnecessary Detail
On November 19, 1863, a crowd of 15,000 gathered in Gettysburg to hear
Edward Everett, one of the greatest orators of the time. Mr. Everett spoke
for two hours about the events that had transpired during the famous battle.
When he finished, Abraham Lincoln rose to deliver a brief two-minute
postscript that has become the most famous speech in American history.
If PowerPoint had been around in 1863, Everett probably would have spoken
for four hours. PowerPoint practically begs you to talk too much. When you
start typing bullets, you can’t stop. Pretty soon, you have 40 slides for a
20-minute presentation. That’s about 35 more than you probably need. Try to
shoot for one slide for every two to five minutes of your presentation.
Don’t Neglect Your Opening
As they say, you get only one opportunity to make a first impression. Don’t
waste it by telling a joke that has nothing to do with the topic, apologizing
for your lack of preparation or nervousness, or listing your credentials. Don’t
pussyfoot around; get right to the point.
The best openings are those that capture the audience’s attention with a
provocative statement, a rhetorical question, or a compelling story. A joke is
okay, but only if it sets the stage for the subject of your presentation.
Be Relevant
The objective of any presentation is to lead your audience to say, “Me, too!”
Unfortunately, many presentations leave the audience thinking, “So what?”
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