Power Presentations Tip 55: Dance With Your PowerPoint

Dance with your PowerPoint
Dance with Your PowerPoint

Imagine that your PowerPoint is your ballroom dance partner. You each have differing roles to play. You support each other. It's always clear to the audience who the lead is, even when that changes during the dance. The dance would look silly without both of you there. The audience never questions why both of you are there.

Now, think about your next presentation. Do you plan to use PowerPoint? There's nothing wrong with using slides, but be clear on your purpose. Will your slides enhance your presentation or simply provide you with your presentation notes?

Will you and your PowerPoint be fighting for the lead? Might your audience wonder who to pay attention to? Will you appear as two clumsy dancers stepping on each others toes?

The strength of PowerPoint is in displaying visuals. Images, photos and charts are visual. Paragraphs and bullet points are not visuals. They are text.

You, as the speaker are there to deliver the words and context. If PowerPoint could do that well, we wouldn't need you. (Think about that.)

Technology is wonderful. But it doesn't mean that you let technology rule. It's up to you to recognize the strengths of your tools and use the right tool in the best way. Too many presenters use the tool only because they are following the herd.

I recently watched a speaker who danced with his slides. He set up the anticipation for each slide, then changed the slide and paused while the audience absorbed the visual portion of this message. As you might have guessed, his slides were real visuals. The only slides with words were the ones that marked his transitions.

He did not read the words on his slides. How liberating!

If you can't or won't learn to dance with your PowerPoint then at least one of you needs to sit out the next presentation.

George Torok

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