We have all been through it. We join a meeting in a darkened room..the projector is humming…the presenter is standing anxiously by the screen…slide 1 of 200 looms before us. Something stirs inside of us and we drop into an available seat giving in to fate.sleeping-audience.jpg

Whether you are the perpetrator or the victim of this crime, now is the time to stop the madness!

The brothers who authored the book Made to Stick write monthly for Fast Company magazine. In a recent article titled “Presentation Pep Talk” they provide some tips for preventing bad Powerpoint that I’d like to share with y’all (and try to start doing more myself):

  • “Show, don’t tell” doesn’t mean to seek out the best clip art to help make your point. Adding pictures to a slide is decoration, not communication. Bring reality into the room. Use physical props and stories to emphasize your point.
  • If your slide has more text than a King James Bible then you need to focus more on your main points. The authors advise, “Think about yourself as the Director of a play, and you’re allocating speaking parts among your main points. You can create a great dialogue, but if you’ve got 22 characters speaking, you haven’t developed any of them properly.” Don’t sweat cutting out all the supporting content. Give more lines to your main characters.
  • Before your audience will value the information you’re giving, they’ve got to want it. You need to create curiosity and pull from the audience. If you put 8 points up on a slide your audience will have read through all 8 prior to you have completed explaining the first one – then they’re bored. What if you put up 8 questions instead?

Interested in seeing some really talented presenters and interesting presentations? Visit Ted Talks at www.ted.com.