Using PowerPoint slides to share information is ingrained deeply in many presenters’ psychic.  The abundant reliance on such tool has produced a variety of presentations, good and not-so-good, seen (and unseen) by assembled spectators, ever imagined.

We’ve sat through them: difficult to read sentences containing small size fonts and misplaced photo layouts. Coupled with the presenter reading from the slides instead of verbally adding to what’s on the screen.

During a Question and Answer session recently, a gentleman asked for suggestions for improving PowerPoint skills. Here are my simple but significant recommendations:

Use bold color slides. Navy blue and medium blue are all right. Also shades of red, dark orange, bright green, yellow. Bold colors on dark or light backgrounds present a dynamic effect.

Use large readable fonts. How large? Audience size is the key. Will ten to twelve people or fifty be present? Will 200 – 300 people be attending? Find out and have the slides produce accordingly. Your wording should be readable from the back of the room.

Use Power Verbs. Although power verbs are predominantly used for job interviews, resumes, essays, and other academic writing; sprinkling a few of these verbs in your slides and verbally stating additional ones will significantly enhance the entire presentation. A sampling of PVs:

  • Evaluate, empower, supplement, acquire. Retrieve, coordinate, classify, and balance.
  • Accommodate, audit, measure, streamline. Spearhead, advocate, analyze, and communicate.
  • Collaborate, implement, advise, and innovate. Launch, assess, orchestrate, distribute, target, assure, activate, and formulate, issue.
  • Contact me to receive a free large list of power verbs.

Use a laser pointer. Stand to one side of the stage and direct the attendees’ attention to points you want to emphasize via laser pointer.

Use vocal variety. Speak confidently, in short, crisp sentences.

Slides are part of your prepared speech to help you say what’s on your mind and help get your point across. The audience members read the slides. Therefore, the presenter does not recite them word per word. PowerPoint slides are background backup to the speaker’s verbalizing.

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