All presenters have their own styles and preferred delivery methods, yet, when pondering public speaking in academic and corporate environments, it is almost impossible to hark back to life before PowerPoint. This ingenious invention has transformed the way in which presentations are both given and received. However, PowerPoint presentations, just like old school lectures and speeches, run the risk of audience disengagement if you are not well versed in a few common sense and easy to follow tenets:
Never fail to keep the essence of the subject matter you hope to convey at the very forefront of your mind. Your audiences, after all, look upon you as the authority. Any ‘wishy washy’ glossing over of aspects you do not intrinsically understand can expose your lack of definitive knowledge. You can, however, give your PowerPoint presentations enhanced definition by using complementary handouts and visual representations.
Getting your style and tone spot on is key to unlocking the engagement and respect of your audiences. If you are public speaking to students or young professionals working in a trendy sector, acknowledge that one cap does not fit all. Use different PowerPoint animations, colours and templates than those you would select when giving presentations to traditional sectors and senior personnel.
You will be aware of the cliché appertaining to pictures painting a thousand words. The same adage applies to all presentations and can be executed particularly effectively in PowerPoint presentations. Take the time and trouble to source relevant images, soundtracks and video clips. They confirm and amplify your subject matter and additionally entertain your audiences.
The overstuffing of slides is a cardinal sin of PowerPoint presentations, albeit a trap that it is all too easy to fall in to. Too much animation is as tedious as too little and too many points and words are nothing short of a bore. As a rule of thumb, try including between three to seven points per slide and encapsulating each point in between three to seven words.
When preparing for any types of public speaking, including the delivery of PowerPoint presentations, practice is king. Carry our informal rehearsals in front of trusted confidantes, take their constructive criticisms on board and amend your PowerPoint presentations accordingly.
Dependent upon individual circumstances, you might be required to distribute your PowerPoint presentations amongst your audiences, either before or after delivery. There are a variety of different ways of successfully doing so, each befitting to various scenarios:
1) Laptop Storage
Many presentations that you give for a broad spectrum of reasons often require you to simply save your PowerPoint presentations on to your laptop before ultimate delivery. If so, you might consider erring on the side of caution and having alternatives on standby to safeguard yourself against unexpected file corruption, viruses and internet connection problems.
2) Email Distribution
Pre or post emailing your presentations is a great way of electronically sharing. Yet it is worth having a back up plan in mind for recipients who may be unable to open up your presentations. Not everyone will have the same version of PowerPoint on their computers as you – or any version at all. If sounds and videos are included in your presentations, check and double check that your have safely zipped them in to your folders before emailing, to ensure that you send comprehensive versions.
3) Video Conversion
The giving of online presentations is an evolving phenomenon. Likewise, you can share your PowerPoint presentations either before or after you have delivered them publicly by using the same methods. You will need to buy in to relevant software, such as PowerPoint to Video Converter, but will then have the luxury of uploading your presentations on to your blog or website, MySpace or YouTube.
4) DVD Burning
Burning on to DVDs effectively offsets any of the potential issues you might encounter by the simple saving your PowerPoint presentations on to your laptop. DVDs additionally offer you an alternative way to share your presentations, and your audiences a simple and efficient way to view and refer back to your work.
5) PDF Conversion
Hard copy printing of PowerPoint presentations is much less laborious and stressful when you print from PDF files rather than directly from PowerPoint. PDF files are also often easier to transmit via email, although your recipients will only be able to access your PDF files if they have Acrobat Reader or PDF Viewer on their computers.