Allow me to set the stage: you’ve been invited to a very important meeting with key business contacts to introduce an initiative that you’ve been promised will revolutionize and revitalize your business.
Unable to resist the potential of this meeting; you reschedule everything to ensure you attend.
You show up; the lights go down… and
45 minutes later the lights come up and you realize you’ve just awakened from an unintended, PowerPoint-induced coma.
Congratulations! You’ve returned from the other side but unfortunately, its 45 minutes you can never get back.
Please don’t perpetrate PowerPoint Coma, a leading ailment of the modern business world… here’s how:
1. Use multimedia tools properly. Presentations must be both verbal and visual, however ensure you don’t overwhelm your audience with too much information, animations and pictures. Questions to ask yourself:
- Can your visual be understood in 3-5 seconds? If not, dump it.
- Can you read the slide content in 10 seconds or less? (3-5 bullet points is preferable)
2. Include short stories to explain your main points. The best presenters illustrate their points with the use of stories, especially personal ones. Stories are easy to remember for your audience.
You should not try and place all content on the slides. Use the NOTES function to help you remember key content and your storyline
3. Know your audience. The four components involved in a presentation are the audience, you, the medium (e.g. PowerPoint) and the message. Your goal is to integrate these elements to create an impactful story that will involve and engage your audience.
4. Limit ideas to one per slide. If you have an overly detailed slide with lots of different content, its better to break it down to 2-3 different slides. Use lots of “white space.” The less clutter on your slide, the more powerful your message will be.
Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
5. Don’t be a statue. Connect with your audience by moving away from or in front of the podium, use gestures and encourage eye contact. Never turn your back to the audience.
6. Don’t read slides verbatim. It’s a good bet your audience can read… no need to do that for them. Use the slides as a visual queue for your audience; however your goal is to engage and communicate with them. You should know your presentation content by heart.
7. Pace Yourself. A key error in presenting is to speak too fast. Record and watch a videotape of a previous presentation you gave to see how you do, and make necessary adjustments. Would you listen to you?
8. No ‘lights out’. Turning the lights off -besides causing coma-like symptoms, places audience focus on the screen. The audience should be looking at you. The screen is a visual aid.
Follow these basic steps and you may well prevent coma in your place of work.