Step away from that PowerPoint or someone might get hurt

Step away from that PowerPoint or someone might get hurt

It’s 2009. PowerPoint Presentations gotta change – or else.

How did we let this happen? How did we let PowerPoint ruin so many presentations?

Apparently, PowerPoint first appeared on the Mac in 1987 and on the PC in 1990. That was around the time that the Berlin Wall fell. Depending on your frame of reference PowerPoint is about 10 years old. So you’d think that we’d have gotten over the novelty of it by now. You’d think that more normally intelligent people would scream in protest, “Either fix it or stop using PowerPoint!”

In this case, “Fix it” refers to the presentation – not the software. In 2009 the presenters who shine will change their approach to the design and delivery of their presentation.

We can understand the novelty factor in the beginning. But how did so many people get seduced by the PowerPoint narcotic for close to a decade? How did we let the word “presentation” become synonymous with “PowerPoint”? I believe that the answer lies in the fact that PowerPoint is software that an idiot can use it. Unfortunately when normally intelligent people use PowerPoint they seem to check their brains at the door.

It’s easy and quick to type your presentation notes into PowerPoint then read them to your audience. Most of us are lazy most of the time so you can see the attraction. In today’s fast paced world many of us are seduced by the pleasure of the moment versus investing our limited resources now for a better long term result.

The first thing that presenters need to do, in 2009, is to ask these important questions before creating their presentation.

What’s the purpose of your presentation? What do you want your audience to do because of your presentation?

What message do you want to deliver that will help you achieve that purpose?

What tools should you use to deliver that message in the most effective way? Consider the presentation tools you might

If PowerPoint is one of those tools, how can you make the best use of the visual aspect of PowerPoint? (Images are visual. Words on a screen are not visual. Those are processed by different areas of our brain.)

When selecting your images how will you find images that don’t look like everyone else’s presentation? Don’t use clipart. You can design your own charts, take photos with your camera, hire a sketch artist or use images from a stock photo site like I like this one because:
1) they have over 2 million images searchable by category and key words,
2) the images only cost between $1 and $2 and,
3) each image shows the number of times it has been purchased so you can avoid the overused ones.

How will you make the best use of your most important presentation resources? That includes your voice, vocabulary, body language, personality and delivery style. Those are the things that make you unique. If those things need improvement, what will you do to improve them?

Are you ready to deliver better presentations in 2009?

George Torok

PS: This post was inspired by Olivia Mitchell at Speaking about Presenting

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