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Don’t bore your audience with PowerPoint

Most of us at some point have sat through or slept through! a presentation that had numerous slides that did nothing but overwhelm the audience and dilute the speaker’s message.

But how do you incorporate a visual aid such as PowerPoint into your presentation and ensure that your slides add value to your message?

Follow these simple tips to incorporate visual aids into your presentation and make them work for you not against you.

Ask yourself the question – Do I really need slides to get my message across?

You may think that you need slides every time you speak in front of an audience.  You may not need them at all. I prefer not to use slides for a short presentation as I find that they are rarely necessary and can be more distracting than helpful.

If you want to use some slides for a longer presentation. How many slides should you use?

The simple answer to this question is “less than you think”. Most presenters use far more slides than they really need to use. So to prevent your presentation becoming overwhelming with slides and your message lost, use about half the slides you think you may need. Guy Kawasaki talks about the 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint  He simply says that a PowerPoint presentation should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 mins and have a minimum font size of 30.

Your slides support your message. The slides are not the message.

Slides can be very distracting for the audience particularly if the presenter has tried to cram everything on the slides. Even worse is when the presenter uses the slides as a crutch so they can read from them. It is tempting to do this but remember your slides are there for your audience, not for you!

What information should be included in the slides?

OK, so you have narrowed it down to a few essential slides that will add value to your presentation. Don’t try to fit as much information as possible on each one,  otherwise, that defeats the purpose of using slides sparingly.

Try to include as much white space as possible with adequate spacing between text and a font size 30

Think beyond bullet points. Use pictures to enhance your message. I believe the best PowerPoint presentations are those that are visually rich. Pictures, cartoons and photos all work well when you are trying to reinforce your message or if you are providing the visual cue to the analogy you are speaking about. Make sure you acknowledge the source if you are using pictures other than your own. There are many Creative Commons images available on various sites, Pixabay is one I often use.

How do you ensure that your PowerPoint slides don’t take over and dilute your message? I’d love to hear from you.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

My services include:

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

Lisa Evans, MBA is the CEO of Speaking Savvy. She is one of less than 150 Certified Speaking Professionals in Australia. She is a Certified Public Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Certified Virtual Presenter, Accredited Business Coach (ICF), Author, TEDx Speaker Coach, NLP Coach, Graphic Recorder, Host and Curator of Stories From The Heart, and Improvisation Actor and Marketing Director at Perth Playback Theatre.