As As of late, I have read many comments and criticisms of Powerpoint. However, I would challenge that many of the problems of Powerpoint isn’t the software itself, but how it is being used. Here are some of the common problems presenters and event meeting planners may encounter and how to avoid them.
PROBLEM: The speaker writes the presentation “on the fly”.
I have worked with many professionals who have an idea or two about what they want to say and start to develop their presentation on Powerpoint before outlining or researching the topic. The problem with this methodology is the presentation flow may seem forced or the topic never gets fully developed.
SOLUTION: Presentations should be written and developed on note or index cards.
The presentor should create an introduction, body, and conclusion. Index cards allow for a natural flow of presentation ideas and can be easily moved around and expanded in a group setting.
PROBLEM: Too much information on the slide.
The fonts are so teeny tiny that the front row is squinting to see the content. Also, you lose your audience at “hello” and they start to wonder if every slide is going to be like this one.
SOLUTION: Follow the 6 x 6 Rule — no more than 6 lines per slide and no more than 6 words per line.
PROBLEM: Too many slides for the allotted amount of time for the speech.
I worked with a presenter a year ago and I told him he had only 25 minutes for his presentation. He brought 73 slides and tried to show as many as he could! He felt the pressure of time toward the end of his speech, so he literally spent about 10 seconds on some of the slides and totally lost the audience.
SOLUTION: Follow the 2 minute rule.
Plan on spending two minutes on each slide…so if your presentation is 25 minutes, you got it, no more than 12 slides for your powerpoint presentation equipment.
PROBLEM: Too many colors, fonts, or pictures on the slide.
I was at Kent State University a few months ago and they tried to use their school colors, which are blue and yellow for the Powerpoint presentation. The problem? The yellow was against a white background and no one could see what was on the slide. When I went to the presenter after his speech and pointed it out, he was totally unaware of the problem.
SOLUTION: View the pitch from audience’s point of view.
Have key people from the event meeting services company sit in in the audience to get the touch and feel of presentation. Make the changes well in advance of the presentation.
PROBLEM: The speaker reads the slides.
SOLUTION: DO NOT let the speaker read the slides.
It is important that you know that the speaker actually wrote his or her own presentation and/or has rehearsed the presentation many times and is very comfortable with the material. One of the key responsiblities of the conference services planner is to bring interesting and educational speakers to the event.