The benefits versus drawbacks of using PowerPoint® presentations can stir lively conversation in the workplace. Some would go so far as to toss out PowerPoint presentations altogether, such as the late Steve Jobs, who believed they stifled creative thinking. Others firmly stand by them as an effective way to communicate.
I believe that a well-crafted PowerPoint presentation can be, well, powerful and pointed. Appealing and engaging slides can bring focus to a discussion, present complex facts and figures in a way that’s easy for an audience to grasp, spark lively dialogue, and enable teams to come to closure on solving a problem or diving into a new project. For example, companywide webcasts, financial discussions and strategic business reviews benefit greatly from solidly crafted PowerPoint presentations. And sending the slides to your audience after a meeting serves as an important resource and often a way to keep a dialogue going. In essence, PowerPoint can become a very effective language for communicating thoughts, ideas and actions.
Of course, getting a PowerPoint presentation “just right” can take a great deal of time and effort. I’ve seen colleagues labor over slides to the point of exhaustion, struggling to cram in as much information as possible. That can be a lose-lose proposition that exhausts both the presenter and the audience.
The key is to strike a balance between too many words and too few; between “eye chart” graphics and appealing visuals – not an easy task, I admit. But PowerPoint slides are meant to enhance a presentation and engage an audience – not overwhelm them with information or eliminate the need for discussion.
You don’t have to search too hard to find useful tips for constructing a “powerful” PowerPoint presentation. I uncovered quite a few, including some that deserve mentioning. Here they are, not in any particular order of importance:
You’ll find many other useful tips and tricks from two sites I recently visited:
It’s important to remember that PowerPoint is just one of the many tools you have in your oratorical tool belt, so don’t be afraid to branch out and add other elements to your presentations like relating a personal anecdote or even asking your audience to take a quick pop quiz.
Clearly, the power of an effective PowerPoint presentation cannot be underestimated. And knowing how to put that power to work effectively will engage and energize your audience – and keep them awake.