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business transformation through storytelling

Seven PowerPoint Tips for Business Presenters


—by Dave Bricker
We’ve all sat through presentations where the PowerPoint skip over important content. Memorizing a presentation is

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had no power and makes no point. When it’s your turn to difficult and time-consuming. Use artful slides as a secret,
speak, use the following tips to keep your audience awake: on-screen presentation outline. Display only enough infor-
mation to trigger your memory and then speak naturally
Your slides are there to accompany you. You are about each bullet point from your own expertise. If public
not standing on the platform to show off your slides. (If speaking makes you nervous (as it does most people), a

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you were, it would make more sense to record a narration good slide deck will keep you “on the rails” and give you
and release a video). You are the lead guitarist taking a solo. less to worry about.

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Your slides are your bass player and drummer, there to make
you sound good. Reveal bullet points one at a time. Displaying all
the bullet points at once will cause your audience to read
Never read text to the audience. Your guests will ahead, just as filling your screen with text will. It’s easy to
silently read ahead and you will find yourself interrupting make your presentation software reveal one bullet point at
them with your spoken presentation. If you have text-heavy a time. Each click of your remote control reveals another

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explanations, complex diagrams, or articles to share, dis- bullet. Each slide becomes a sequence of slides, and you get
tribute a printed handout. Handouts declutter your screen, to control the pacing of your presentation.

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and give you a chance to send your viewers home with valu-
able content that has your contact information on it. Use images you’re legally allowed to use. “I didn’t
steal that image; I found it on the Internet,” is not going to
Bullet points rock! Bullet points offer concise “book- help when you get sued for copyright infringement. Use
marks” that help your audience keep track of what you’re sites like pixabay.com to find free royalty-free images. Other
speaking about. And they’ll help you make sure you don’t sites offer royalty-free images at low cost, the advantage
being that the rest of the world is more likely to be using
the free ones and you’ll look more original.
Distorted images make your slides look amateur. Always
hold the shift key while you drag the corner of an image to
resize it. This will force the height and width to maintain
their relationship, preventing squashed and stretched im-
ages. When you can, crop images strategically instead of

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squashing the whole image into the available space.

Abandon animated transitions. PowerPoint offers an


array of fancy transitions. With a click you can make one
slide fade into the next, move off the screen, dissolve into a
checkerboard pattern, or bounce off the side of the screen
with a sound of screeching tires. Resist the temptation to
use transitions or animation unless you’re working with
a trained designer who knows how to use them sparingly
and tastefully. Your guests want the information you have
to share; they’re less interested in seeing a demonstration
Working on a book, website,
article, or speech that has to

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of the capabilities of your presentation software.
connect and engage? I help
Either use excellent slides or no slides at all. remarkable people tell
There is no excuse for mediocrity on the platform. Grab-
bing the first built-in slide background you see and drop-
remarkable stories.
ping in centered Arial text and clip-art will literally project
to the audience that you don’t care about your appear- PRESENTATION COACHING

ance—or them—and they’ll wonder what else you don’t


WRITING AND PUBLISHING
care about. If you must design your own presentation, en-
gage a trained designer to help you create a background BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
image and choose a set of typefaces that are consistent with
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
your message, style, and brand.
SALES TRAINING
Whether you’re making “the big pitch” or sharing your
wisdom for free with a local Rotary club or chamber of
commerce, a professional presentation will distinguish
you from the “experts” who know their stuff, but don’t
know how to engage an audience. Public speaking offers a

DAVE BRICKER
powerful way to network with a whole room full of people
at once. Get the resources you need to offer value instead
of data. What good is a “presentation” if it doesn’t mean Business Transformation Through Storytelling
“giving your audience a present?” www.storysailing.com • dave@davebricker.com • 305-490-5998