Fading into Sameness: How Too Many Slides Can Ruin Your Presentation
"I have a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint. In the right hands, it's a great presentation tool. In the wrong hands (and unfortunately, most usage falls into this category) we are cloning generations of boring slide shows narrated by speakers we barely notice." - Debbie Bailey
Ah, the good old days. For me, those were the days beforePowerPoint slide shows became the norm for virtually everybusiness presentation given in corporate America. I fondlyremember the days when presenters spoke passionately abouta subject near and dear to their heart without having todisplay every single thought on a slide. I often reminisce back to the time when 80 slides for a 20 minutepresentation was NOT the standard, when presenters weren't just slide narrators, when preparing for a presentation meant more than putting together your slide show.
Now don't get me wrong, I know the advantages of usinga few good slides, however, I also know that too much of a good thing is, well, BAD. I subscribe to Bill Wheless' philosophy about PowerPoint "It's like alcohol in the hands of a drunk. What we need is moderation." Somehow, we must learn to use, but not abuse, slides. If we don't, we risk looking and sounding like every other boring business presenter. Worst of all, we become forgettable.
Think about the last presenter who strongly affected you. More than likely that presenter used very few, if any,slides. The most memorable presenters rely on theirdelivery style to make their point, rather than a welldesigned slide deck.
When I first began teaching presentation skills more than20 years ago, I struggled to convince presenters toincorporate the use of visual aids. My how the world has changed.
Today, convincing presenters to rely less on their slides and more on their dynamic communication skills is even harder. It's almost as if presenters believe that all it takes to deliver a successful presentation is a good slide deck. Unfortunately, when asked to prepare a presentation, presenters spend the vast majority of their time working on their slides, rather than on perfecting their delivery style.
Consider for a moment why political candidates andpresidents DON'T use slides. My guess is, they don't wantto divert any attention away from themselves. They understand what Roger Ailes, author of the famous book "You Are the Message" has known for quite some time. "For those who want to succeed, there is only one secret. YOU ARE THE MESSAGE."
Generally, here's what happens when you overuse slides:
1. Your slides lose their ability to make an impact-Essentially, slides become the white noise in thepresentation, so constant that they are no longernoticeable.
2. The audience focuses on your slides, rather than onyou. If 55% of your communication power comes from yourbody and face (based on the universally accepted researchby Albert Mehrabian), than NOT having the audience focusedon you diminishes about half of your POWER as a presenter. Can you really afford to cut your personal power in half?
3. You are demoted to the position of slide narrator. Theslides take center stage and like the narrator of a play,you are the anonymous voice coming from somewhere in the background.
Just as too many slides can detract from your success asa presenter, having a few well designed slides canstrengthen your impact. Consider these quick tips designedto help improve your use of slides:
1. Develop your presentation first, then determine where avisual might help the audience better understand yourmessage. This is a much safer approach than developingyour slides first.
2. Try to boil your presentation down to six or fewer important slides that speak to the heart of your message. Make sure that each slide you chose complies with the 6 x 6 rule-no more than six lines of text with six words on each line.
3. Better yet, make the impact of your slides visual,rather than verbal (words written on slides). The bestslides arouse the audience visually so take a creativeapproach to translating words into meaningful pictures.
Rest assured that it's not that I am anti slides-I ampro YOU! While slides do serve an important function, eventhe best designed slide can't compete with the power ofYOU. YOU are the greatest visual aid of all! Take thefocus OFF the slides and put it back where it belongs-squarely on YOU! Invest the time you might have spent on your slides on your delivery practice and rather than fadinginto sameness, you will STAND APART from the rest!
(c) Debbie Bailey, 2004
Debbie Bailey is a well-regarded Presentation Skills Training Consultant and founder of Trainer2go Inc. For more information about Debbie go tohttp://trainer2go.com.
Ten Tips on Using Flip Charts and Whiteboards
Flip charts are so common that we all think we can use them. But how often have you sat in presentations wondering what all the scribble was really about? Like many people you have probably seen flip charts that make no sense, that you can't read from the back of the room and that look like a spider has crawled over them. You don't want your flip charts to look like that, do you? Just follow these ten simple steps and you will have flip charts that look truly professional.
Group Meetings: Being Prepared Makes a Difference
MANAGING MEETINGS--BEING PREPARED MAKES A DIFFERENCE: You can schedule all the meetings you want to, and if you are not prepared to take charge then you're wasting your time. The time you invest planning a meeting is time well spent. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can enjoy the fruit of a productive meeting. Before you schedule a meeting, determine its purpose and necessity. Document specifically what you expect to accomplish during the meeting (including goals and objectives). A clearly written plan allows you to focus solely on the issues you need to address. Next, determine whether this purpose can be more efficiently achieved by some other means, such as a phone call, a written memo, or an informal conversation.
Present Statistics In Context
"I didn't have 3000 pairs of shoes. I had only 1600 pairs." Imelda Marcos
How to Chair a Meeting
You don't have to be on a stage to be a public speaker. Your platform may be a meeting room. How you present yourself when chairing a meeting determines whether or not you are perceived as a leader. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it's your turn to take charge.
Being Real From the Platform
"Let it be known, no person, thing, or situation can validate you. You validate yourself by realizing who you are." Mark Tosoni
Top Ten Rules for Effective Presentations
I am of the belief that the majority of people can improve their presentations dramatically by focusing on eliminating bad habits and presentation skills more than seeking to add anything on. How often have you come out of a seminar and overheard someone say, "Wow, she was great! Did you see how effectively she used her hand gestures?"
Public Speaking Training Tips For Better Business Presentations To Culturally Diverse Audiences
Audiences around the world are all different. Cultural, social and religiousdifferences impact on how people learn, take in information and interactwith presenters.
Grand Opening: The Key To Great Presentations
Whether you are speaking in front of a civic group or makinga sales presentation, your opening can make or break thedeal. Unless you grab the audience at the beginning, they'llbe sleeping through your most important information.
Creating Your Presentation Success With a Positive ?I CAN? Attitude
According to the Lamalle Report on Top Executives of the 1990s, one of the most important factors in determining financial success by those earning over $250,000 is being enthusiastic and having a positive attitude (46%). Apparently, successful people never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
Problems with the Lecture Format
ALTERNATIVES TO THE LECTURE FORMAT: How often do you use lectures as your sole training technique? Nearly always? Often? It's not unusual for trainers to use the lecture technique exclusively. After all, this is what we have all seen and are familiar with. The format is easily mastered, and innovation may not seem necessary when the traditionally accepted technique garners no complaints. Unfortunately, while there are several conditions under which a lecture may be useful to the trainer, for several reasons it is not a very effective tool for changing behavior in trainees.
Kvetching Behavior and How it Hinders Success
Kvetching is the Yiddish word for complaining, hand to the forehead, why is this happening to me, complaining, griping, and mental misery. In marketing it's always time for us to take a serious look at how our attitude affects our business. Studies show that you become the words you speak, and that the difference between people who succeed and those who fail is their ATTITUDE. For just one day, try to rid yourself of kvetching.
How to Begin a Lesson Plan
DEVELOPING LESSON PLANS: In developing lesson plan formats, two things are paramount: extraordinarily careful documentation and room left for possible changes. Sloppy accounting of the direction your class will be going is worse than none. And documentation that doesn't have leeway for change is almost instantly obsolete. The types of plan formats generally used are the: outline, sentence outline, narrative outline, narrative. The primary difference is in the amount of information and narrative in the body of the presentation. Your plan for a presentation should be at least a sentence outline or preferably a narrative outline.
Powerpoint Sales Presentations Are Boring - Stop It!
As the meeting began, the project manager of the buying committee told me that the key decision-maker would miss the first 20 minutes or so of my presentation. This was a very competitive sale that I was working on at the time. There were about a dozen or so business-people from the prospect company that I was selling to in this meeting. The presentation was scheduled to last about 90 minutes. During the first 20 minutes I had planned to cover my "persuasive arguments" (that is my company and product benefits).
Facilitating Panel Discussions
A client recently called to say she was going to facilitate a panel for the next business meeting. She had never done so before and asked if I could coach her. After the session, she realized that there are some basic skills needed when facilitating a panel of speaker.
Close Deals in Record Time!
Remember back when the ability to create a slide show presentation using PowerPoint was cutting-edge technology? PowerPoint presentations changed the way that companies and seminars did business. It was easy to take along your presentation material; just grab your laptop and go. Sound and visual effects, fancy screen designs, bulleted features ? presentations had it all.
If You Want Business - Throw a Seminar!
Why is throwing a seminar good for business?
Top 6 Reasons Why You Need a Remote for PowerPoint Presentations
A top complaint from audience members is that many presenters put too much emphasis on PowerPoint and technology while neglecting the message and interaction with participants. One way to deliver more effective presentations that improve your connection to your audience is to add a remote control to your presentation tools.
Super Preparation ? Keys to Getting a Great Start to Every Presentation
Super Preparation ?Keys to Getting a Great Start to Every Presentation
Special Delivery! Tips for Improving Your Humor
Delivering humorous speeches involves a lot more than simply having good material. Take some time to incorporate these tips into your presentations and watch the fun and laughter factors rise.
8 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills
8 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills
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