This is a skill you need to adopt before you can be an effective manager.  So best to start now.  I will assume that you have attended a presentation skills course, a prerequisite to bullet-proof PowerPoint presentations.  The speed of delivery, voice levels, using silence, getting the audience to participate are all techniques that you need to be familiar and comfortable using, see below for checklist.

There are 25 rules to a good PowerPoint presentation.

  1. Always prepare a paper for the audience covering detailed numbers, etc so that you do not have to show detail in the slides (See rule 2).
  2. Understand that the PowerPoint is not meant to be a document; if you have more than 35 words per slide you are creating a report, not a presentation. Each point, should be relatively cryptic and only be understood if someone has attended your presentation.
  3. At least 10-20 % of your slides should be high-quality photographs, some of which will not even require a caption.
  4. A picture can replace many words, to understand this point you need to read “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery” by Garr Reynolds, and “Slide:ology – The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations” by Nancy Duarte.
  5. Last minute slide presentations are a career limiting activity. You wouldn’t hang your dirty washing in front of a hundred people, so why would you look a real **** deliberately in front of them. Only say yes to a presentation if you have the time, resources and enthusiasm to do the job properly.
  6. Create time so that you can be in a ‘thinking space’ e.g, work at home, go to the library, etc.
  7. Map the subject area out in a mind-map and then, create post-it stickers for each point to help you organize your thoughts, see page 28 of “slide:ology”.
  8. Understand what is considered good use of colour, photographs and the ‘rule of thirds’.
  9. For key points, do not go less than 30pt size font. As Nancy Duarte says, “Look at the slides, in the slide sorter view at 66% size. If you can read it on your computer, it is a good chance your audience can read it on the screen”.
  10. 10. Where possible if you are going to present on a regular basis, make sure you have a Tablet PC which gives you the ability to draw when you are making points. This makes the presentation more interesting, no matter how bad you are at drawing.
  11. 11. Limit animation as it is far better that the audience is able to read all the points on the slide quickly rather than hold them back.
  12. 12. Use Guy Kawasaki’s ‘10/20/30 rule’. A ‘sales pitch’ PowerPoint presentation should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30pts.
  13. 13. Bring theatre into your presentation. Be active as a presenter, walking up the aisle so that those at the back see you close-up, vary voice, get on your knees in the prayer position to emphasize an important point, have a bit of fun and your audience will too. Very few things are unacceptable as a presenter, a work colleague even commented to me that their boring ‘Welcome to Uni session’ was totally revolutionized by the junior lecturer giving the talk naked (That may be a little over the top).
  14. 14. Be aware of being too cute and clever with your slides. The move to creating a lot of whitespace is all very well provided your labels on the diagram do not have to be very small.
  15. 15. Never show numbers to a decimal place nor to the dollar if the number is greater than 10,000. If sales are $9,668,943.22 Surely it is better to say, Approx. $10 Million, Or $9.6 Million. The precise number can be in the written document if it is deemed worthwhile.
  16. 16. Always tell stories to relate to the audience, bringing in humor that is relevant to them. A good presenter should be able to find plenty of humor in the subject without having to resort to telling jokes. No doubt, some of the audience have heard the joke and would rather hear them from a comedian.
  17. 17. Make sure your opening words grab their attention.
  18. 18. Understand Stephen Few’s work on dashboard design if you are using graphs.
  19. 19. Have a simple remote mouse so that you can move the slides along independently of your computer.
  20. 20. Never use clipart, it sends shivers down the spine of the audience and you may lose them before you have a chance to present.
  21. 21. Practise, practise, practise your delivery. The shorter the presentation the more you need to practise. For my Fathers eulogy, I must have read it through 20-30 times. Each time breaking down at a different point, I even had my brother as a back-stop in case I couldn’t deliver it. He sat in fear throughout the whole service. However, on the day, all the practice paid off and I was able to deliver a eulogy worthy of my father. One that has been commented by many as the best they had ever heard. The point I am making is the best speech I have ever delivered is the one I prepared the most for.
  22. 22. Always remember the Audience doesn’t know the whole content of your speech, particularly if you keep the detail off the slides, thus if you do miss some point out, don’t worry about it, they don’t know or won’t realize the error.
  23. 23. If there has been some issue relating to transportation, technology, etc which has delayed the start, avoid starting off with an apology. You can refer to this later on, your first five minutes is the most important for the whole presentation and must therefore be strictly on the topic matter.
  24. 24. Greet as many members of the audience as you can before the presentation, as it will help calm your nerves, and it will also give you the opportunity to clarify their knowledge and ask for their participation such as at question time. The other benefit is that is confirms that nobody in the audience would rather be doing your role and thus, why should you be nervous.
  25. 25. At the end of the presentation shake hands with as many of the audience as possible by positioning yourself by the door when the audience leaves.  This develops further rapport between presenter and audience.

PowerPoint presentations checklist

PowerPoint presentations checklist
Planning
Develop a purpose of the presentation
  • o Yes   o No
Have a goal for the number of slides you will need
  • o Yes   o No
Perform a research of the subject
  • o Yes   o No
Do you know your audience?
  • o Yes   o No
Do you know what they are like?
  • o Yes   o No
Do you know why they are coming to the presentation?
  • o Yes   o No
Do you know what their emotional drivers, points of pain are?
  • o Yes   o No
Can you solve any of their problems?
  • o Yes   o No
Do you know what you want them to do?
  • o Yes   o No
Have you thought about why they might resist your suggestions?
  • o Yes   o No
Do you know how you can best reach them?
  • o Yes   o No
The creative phase
While you are creating avoid editing as you are going along – do not mix editing with your creative side, in other words your first cut of a PowerPoint should never be edited as you go, simply pour down your thoughts, leaving clues for your staff or peers to help in certain areas (see below for an example)
  • o Yes   o No
Review recent articles or recent seminars you have attended for clever and concise diagrams
  • o Yes   o No
Find some diagrams that tell a story
  • o Yes   o No
The editing phase
The person preparing the slides needs to have attended a course on PowerPoint
  • o Yes   o No
Are you using the whole slide? (avoid using the portrait option for slides)
  • o Yes   o No
Do you create a progress icon to show the audience of progress through a presentation?
  • o Yes   o No
Portrait pictures can be moved to one side and the title and text to the other
  • o Yes   o No
Are all detailed pictures expanded to the whole slide (ignore the need for a heading)
  • o Yes   o No
Any typeface in a picture smaller than 24 point will need to be enlarged
  • o Yes   o No
Limit to five to six separate points per slide
  • o Yes   o No
Repeat a good diagram if you are talking about a section of it at a time
  • o Yes   o No
Have slides read through by someone who has good editing skills
  • o Yes   o No
If you have pictures of people, do you ensure that they are looking toward the slide content?
  • o Yes   o No
First run through of the presentation
Once the slides have been edited go straight into a full practice run with one or two of your peers in attendance
  • o Yes   o No
Time the length and avoid any interruptions, the audience are to note down improvements as they are spotted
  • o Yes   o No
Now repeat this process twice more, if it is a short 15 to 20 minute presentation up to five full practices will be necessary.  The shorter the harder!
  • o Yes   o No
Prepare the master copy of the slides so you can check all is clear, and courier to seminar organizer
  • o Yes   o No
If workshop exercises are to be included, read through these carefully and get them checked for clarity by an independent person
  • o Yes   o No
Print slides 3 to a page except for complex slides that should be shown on their own
  • o Yes   o No
Test your laptop on at least two data shows as some custom settings that maximize your network can prevent your laptop linking to data shows!!
  • o Yes   o No
Night before
Avoid late changes, nothing annoys the audience more than the presentation being in a different order to the presentation handout.  You will make a rod for your own back when you get requests for the missing slides!
  • o Yes   o No
Always test the data show projector the night before if you are required to run it (you may find a missing cable)
  • o Yes   o No
Carry a spare power extension lead and the standard lap top to data show cable with you
  • o Yes   o No
Add some more story clues for you on the slides if necessary
  • o Yes   o No
Travel up the night before (plane travel deadens the senses, can effect hearing and you cannot trust the schedules)
  • o Yes   o No
If possible, bring a spare data show with you for extra protection
  • o Yes   o No
Avoid excessive intact of alcohol the night before, it does reduce performance the next morning
  • o Yes   o No
Bring your own laptop to the presentation
  • o Yes   o No
Practice the night before especially the first 15 minutes (you will need two stories in the first 15 minutes)
  • o Yes   o No
On the day
A brief run through the first 15 minutes at the proper speed before breakfast
  • o Yes   o No
Light exercise is a great idea to freshen the mind ( I usually go for a swim before I speak)
  • o Yes   o No
Tell stories instead of jokes unless you are very good at it (joke telling requires excellent timing)
  • o Yes   o No
Greet as many members of the audience as you can before the presentation, it will help calm your nerves and give you the opportunity to clarify their knowledge and ask for their participation such as at question time
  • o Yes   o No
At the first break meet with a sample of the audience and enquire about whether the material is of interest and about the pace of delivery. This pick up any problems and thus helps improve the assessment ratings
  • o Yes   o No
Never apologise to the audience simply state the facts if there is a difficulty of some kind
  • o Yes   o No
Run through an example of the workshop exercise to ensure every workshop group has the correct idea of what is required
  • o Yes   o No
Recap what has been covered to date and ask for questions
  • o Yes   o No
At the end of the presentation shake hands with as many of the audience as possible by positioning yourself by the door when the audience leaves.  This develops further rapport between presenter and audience.
  • o Yes   o No
Celebrate – you have done your best.