Your Powerpoint is Your Talk
Published June 22, 2021
Now I am aware the title might sound a little too presumptuous. After all, a talk or a lecture is so much more. What if you match the most beautiful Powerpoint slide with the most boring speaker? Would the talk still be worth listening to? I’m guessing the answer is ‘yes’. A Powerpoint presentation works two ways: it captures the essence of the talk and guides the speaker and the audience to the flow of the talk. If you get a boring speaker, but the points of the talk are important and interesting in themselves, chances are people will not walk out. This is unlike in academia where the lecturers can get away with simple bullet points on a white background by virtue of their environment. A Powerpoint presentation, especially in the business world, is your brand and image.
A Saddled Horse
So, what makes a Powerpoint interesting? How do you come up with creative Powerpoint templates that can work for you and help save time when you have to prepare a Powerpoint presentation? Usually, when we start on a Powerpoint, we don’t really deviate too much from what we have used before. This is where creative Powerpoint templates come in handy. They allow us to stick to what we are comfortable with. At the same time, it allows for some creativity to match the topics. Creative Powerpoint templates save time because they already have the basics in place — consistent design, relevant visuals, grid alignment and attractive colour scheme — all of which result in a cohesive presentation.
Every time we finish presenting with a Powerpoint, it is set aside, until the next Powerpoint. Rarely do we go back to that Powerpoint, look through it and then edit it for a new presentation. After a presentation, feedback is usually given on the talk and the topics. Hardly anyone says, “The colours on your Powerpoint are rather jarring”. Ready-made creative Powerpoint templates already have all these settled for you. It is like a horse that is saddled and simply waiting for you to hop on.
Making it Run
You have the horse saddled. How do you make it run? Any creative Powerpoint template is simply the canvas. The points that go onto it is what makes the whole presentation an art. The essential question, especially in the digital world today where information is available and searchable at your fingertips is, “What points should I have on my Powerpoint?”. The decision on what points should go into a Powerpoint is what information management is about. I once had a very strict lecturer who had only one golden rule for Powerpoint presentations: Do not read from the slideshow. That is a small but very important point. The moment a speaker reads from the Powerpoint, they would have essentially lost the audience. By the simple act that the audience is facing the presentation slides, they would be able to read it faster than the speaker can. If the audience knows more than the speaker, the speaker is a step behind. The information presented is thus considered redundant.
So, if you actually break down that one single golden rule, it means that the points on the Powerpoint must contain information that is pertinent and guides both the speaker and the audience forward. In other words, the points should flow. At the same time, this information must be contained only in headlines, the rest of the information should be something that the speaker is able to give smoothly verbally.
Top Powerpoint Tips
Here’s a summary of the key points I like to follow when making a Powerpoint presentation:
1. Don't have too much text. This is worth repeating, because it's so important! Your Powerpoint should essentially be a display of visual aids.
2. Make sure you don't have too many slides. The best guideline is to have 6-8 slides.
3. Short and Sweet. Use your presentation to get your message across in a concise and effective manner. It's a lot more impressive to have a few slides that are effective than a whole lot of slides that aren't.
4. Make sure your key points are on your slides.
5. Make sure to keep each slide short and concise. Your slides should never go over 4 lines of text. If you have to, use bullet points to get your point across.
6. Use a consistent design throughout your presentation. This makes for a coherent and professional presentation.
7. Be creative! You don't have to stick to the same format for every presentation you do, especially if it doesn't fit your purpose. Just be sure to keep your presentation organized.
When you nail the basics of Powerpoint, you are well on your way to getting your message across professionally, effectively, and with clarity. It all boils down to being organized, effective, and concise. Also, when you have the basics of Powerpoint down, you can have fun with your presentations. For example, you can choose creative Powerpoint templates that match your personality. You can make your slides a reflection of your personality. The audience would appreciate this because they are more likely to remember your presentation if it has an element of personality to it!