POWERPOINT!! It’s a bit like marmite. You either love it or hate it. That’s both as a creator and as part of an audience. We have all sat through endless slides filled with words, and a monotonous speaker that’s enough to send us day dreaming to our last holiday. So how do we ensure the balance between the need to supply information with the need to engage our audience.
- A picture speaks a 1000 words.
Where possible use imagery to engage your audience. People are drawn to colourful imagery that they can relate to. Use relevant imagery when it adds important information or helps clarify a point.
- Avoid Information Overload
Psychological theory of working memory states that we take in a maximum of 7 pieces of information at once. It’s why phone numbers were traditionally 7 numbers long and mnemonic’s and acronyms are so popular. Limit your information per slide to 5-7 pieces MAX and less where possible and DON’T use paragraphs!
- Clutter Clear out
Simple slide design will direct your audience to where you want them. If they have imagery and animations distracting them then you won’t deliver your message effectively.
- 1 Step at a Time
The only information on the screen should be the one you are talking about. Reveal bullet points 1 by 1 so the audience is focusing on the current information you are delivering and not the final step.
- Step away from the Screen
The power-point presentation is designed to add value to the speaker. You should feel confident with your content that you can speak openly and freely without sticking to a script or being glued to the screen. Don’t be shy to black the screen out at times to divert the audience attention to you.
- Engage the Audience
Ask questions of your audience, encourage participation and group discussion. These breakouts will refresh your listeners so they return to you motivated to listen and learn.
- Tick Tock – Watch the Clock
As passionate as you are about your particular subject not all your audience will share the same view. To keep them engaged ensure you don’t go off piste from your aims or run over by time. This ensures the sounds of rumbling tummies are not louder than your voice!
- Have FUN!!
If you add character and intonation to your eyes and voice and project your passion then this is likely to rub off on your audience leaving them inspired and wanting more.