Learning Objectives Covered
- Format text in a PowerPoint presentation
- Apply a design theme to a PowerPoint presentation
In this week's discussion post, we will be learning about effective presentations and how to create them using Microsoft PowerPoint. PowerPoint presentations are useful not only while you are in school but also once you are in the workplace. They are a great way to convey information and ideas to others. Below you will find great tips on how to make the best of your presentation time and keep your audience engaged in the information you are sharing.
How can you make a good presentation even more effective?
First, watch this humorous video for a presentation of the most common mistakes made by PowerPoint presenters.
Links to an external video (3:59)Life After Death by PowerPoint (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
Next, read the information below by SkillsYouNeed.com. It provides 10 Tips based on published advice from expert presenters around the world, which will help to take your presentations from merely ‘good’ to ‘great’. By bringing together advice from a wide range of people, the aim is to cover a whole range of areas. Whether you are an experienced presenter, or just starting out, there should be ideas here to help you to improve.
Tip 1: Show your Passion and Connect with your Audience
- It’s hard to be relaxed and be yourself when you’re nervous.
- But time and again, the great presenters say that the most important thing is to connect with your audience, and the best way to do that is to let your passion for the subject shine through.
- Be honest with the audience about what is important to you and why it matters.
- Be enthusiastic and honest, and the audience will respond.
Tip 2: Focus on your Audience’s Needs
- Your presentation needs to be built around what your audience is going to get out of the presentation.
- As you prepare the presentation, you always need to bear in mind what the audience needs and wants to know, not what you can tell them.
- While you are giving the presentation, you also need to remain focused on your audience’s response, and react to that.
- You need to make it easy for your audience to understand and respond.
Tip 3: Keep it Simple: Concentrate on your Core Message
- When planning your presentation, you should always keep in mind the question: What is the key message (or three key points) for my audience to take away?
- You should be able to communicate that key message very briefly.
- Some experts recommend a 30-second ‘elevator summary’, others that you can write it on the back of a business card, or say it in no more than 15 words.
- Whichever rule you choose, the important thing is to keep your core message focused and brief.
- And if what you are planning to say doesn’t contribute to that core message, don’t say it.
Tip 4: Smile and Make Eye Contact with your Audience
- This sounds very easy, but a surprisingly large number of presenters fail to do it.
- If you smile and make eye contact, you are building rapport, which helps the audience to connect with you and your subject. It also helps you to feel less nervous, because you are talking to individuals,not to a great mass of unknown people.
- To help you with this, make sure that you don’t turn down all the lights so that only the slide screen is visible.Your audience needs to see you as well as your slides.
Tip 5: Start Strongly
- The beginning of your presentation is crucial. You need to grab your audience’s attention and hold it.
- They will give you a few minutes’ grace in which to entertain them, before they start to switch off if you’re dull. So don’t waste that on explaining who you are. Start by entertaining them.
- Try a story (see tip 7 below), or an attention-grabbing (but useful) image on a slide.
Tip 6: Remember the 10-20-30 Rule for Slideshows
This is a tip from Guy Kawasaki of Apple. He suggests that slideshows should:
- Contain no more than 10 slides;
- Last no more than 20 minutes; and
- Use a font size of no less than 30 point.
This last is particularly important as it stops you trying to put too much information on any one slide. This whole approach avoids the dreaded ‘Death by PowerPoint’. As a general rule, slides should be the sideshow to you, the presenter. A good set of slides should be no use without the presenter, and they should definitely contain less, rather than more, information, expressed simply. If you need to provide more information, create a bespoke handout and give it out after your presentation.
Tip 7: Tell Stories
- Human beings are programmed to respond to stories.
- Stories help us to pay attention, and also to remember things. If you can use stories in your presentation, your audience is more likely to engage and to remember your points afterwards. It is a good idea to start with a story, but there is a wider point too: you need your presentation to act like a story.
- Think about what story you are trying to tell your audience, and create your presentation to tell it.
Tip 8: Use your Voice Effectively
- The spoken word is actually a pretty inefficient means of communication, because it uses only one of your audience’s five senses. That’s why presenters tend to use visual aids, too. But you can help to make the spoken word better by using your voice effectively.
- Varying the speed at which you talk, and emphasizing changes in pitch and tone all help to make your voice more interesting and hold your audience’s attention.
Tip 9: Use your Body Too
- It has been estimated that more than three quarters of communication is non-verbal.
- That means that as well as your tone of voice, your body language is crucial to getting your message across. Make sure that you are giving the right messages: body language to avoid includes crossed arms, hands held behind your back or in your pockets, and pacing the stage.
- Make your gestures open and confident, and move naturally around the stage, and among the audience too, if possible.
Tip 10: Relax, Breathe and Enjoy
- If you find presenting difficult, it can be hard to be calm and relaxed about doing it.
- One option is to start by concentrating on your breathing. Slow it down, and make sure that you’re breathing fully. Make sure that you continue to pause for breath occasionally during your presentation too.
Skillsyouneed.com. (2015). Top tips for effective presentations. Retrieved from http://www.skillsyouneed.com/present/presentation-...
If you can bring yourself to relax, you will almost certainly present better. If you can actually start to enjoy yourself, your audience will respond to that, and engage better. Your presentations will improve exponentially, and so will your confidence. It’s well worth a try. (Skillsyouneed, 2015). For more ideas, see the SkillsYouNeed.com page onCoping with Presentation Nerves (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.).
Do any of these tips stand out to you? What would make you sit up and pay attention during a presentation? Please select any 3 tips above and discuss what you believe would help you to make more effective presentations. Make sure to explain why you selected these tips. Make sure your initial post contains 150+ words, one APA “in-text citation” and the APA formatted reference below at the end (use the citation and reference provided above). Remember, the citation and reference will not be graded this week, so give it a try!
Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful but discuss this and figure it out together.
Please watch the short video below for step by step instructions on how to complete the week 3 discussion.
Week 3 Discussion (21:58)
Per the Due Dates and Participation Requirements for this course, you must submit 1 main post of 150+ words, 1 APA citation, and reference, as well as 2 follow-up posts of 50+ words. Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be your own words (no copy and paste), each reply unique (no repeating something you already said), and substantial in nature. Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time (20%) and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. (20% per post).
Please proceed to the remaining items for week three when you are ready:
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