Five ways you can avoid the common pitfalls of irrelevance, boring and death by PowerPoint

The definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same things & expecting a different result (Albert Einstein)

royalty-free-albert-einstein-clipart-illustration-78931Once again I recently asked a group of learners what they hated about presentations.  And once again they came up with a familiar list of ‘hates’.  PowerPoint came up more than once, monotone voice, ‘cheesy’ presenters who were not genuine and content that missed the mark were also variations on a theme.  But when I suggested that even though we dislike these aspects of presentations, when we come to deliver ones ourselves it is all too easy to slip into the same mistakes, there were knowing laughs, embarrassed nods and murmurs of agreement.

If we want to create and deliver better and more effective presentations, then we need to do some different things – not do the same things and expect to get different results.  Here are five ways you can avoid the common pitfalls of irrelevance, boring and death by PowerPoint:

  1. Start with the needs of the audience.  What do they think, experience and dream about and how does what you are speaking about tap into that?
  2. Keep PowerPoint under lock and key until you have decided what your message is and how you are going to deliver it. Then and only then, open it up and choose which PICTURES might help you put across your message clearly and memorably.
  3. Work out how you are going to invite your listeners to participate in your presentation.  What are you going to ask them to think about? What pictures do you want them to create in their mind’s eye? What stories do you want them to imagine? What feelings do you want to evoke? What references do you wish them to conjure?
  4. Build a sequence that is logical, that flows and that matches how people listen (by the way, most people don’t listen with 100% concentration, shock horror! – they dip in and dip out, they access their previous experiences and sometimes dream of future.)  You can use your sequence to match and guide those thought processes.
  5. Keep your content simple.  This is about getting real clarity about your message and the action you want the audience to take afterwards. If you can build a presentation around a Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credentialed and Emotional Story – people will get your message and they will remember it (These SUCCESS elements are taken from Dan and Chip Heath’s Made to Stick book – a must read and thoroughly recommended.)

If you would like to chat about how you can develop your presentation skills, then email Catherine or call her on 07946604859.

This blog was originally part of a competition run by White Hart Training.  Entrants to the competition had to guess the originator of six quotes.  Each of the six quotes exemplifies six key factors about speaking in public.  Please browse the blog for the remaining five quotes or search using the category Quotation Competition

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