What is the worst presentation you have ever been to? If you are like me, it was probably when a misguided presenter turned off the lights and plastered a projection screen with dull, boring Microsoft PowerPoint slides. Was that move supposed to engage me or put me to sleep? Sometimes, I wonder why someone would get in front of a group of people to deliver information in that way. Are they aware of the impact of their choice? Do they know there is a better way of presenting information, even if they still choose to use PowerPoint? What I worry about most though is whether you might also be completely disengaged from people when you are in front of them, without even knowing it!
Many presenters, even highly-trained ones, use Microsoft PowerPoint as a shortcut to building a rigorous presentation. When they post their notes on the slide sloppily, pack slides with dense and unimportant information, or clash colours and patterns, they lose the precious attention of the audience. Here is what is even worse: some presenters use PowerPoint as a way to hide from the front of the room! How can they do that? Simple – they basically let the slide deck do the talking for them instead of using the PowerPoint as a supplement to their work. If this were not enough reason for Microsoft PowerPoint training, there is an even bigger presentation no-no.
Why do people make presentations? Contrary to popular belief, very few (if any) presentations are really put together solely to deliver information. The most effective presentation skills you can develop involve motivating people into action, not teaching them something new. All the learning in the world will make no difference if the audience does not take action in some way to forward a project or a conversation. Although sharing information is a valuable part of the decision-making process, your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation would be missing something if there were no call to action.
John Abrams is a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, manuals and reviews for many websites such as office.com/setup