Presenting? Make every slide count
3 presenting tips to make every slide count.
Presenting? Make every slide count
Virtually every presentation you see at a conference or in a meeting is accompanied by visual aids – usually PowerPoint slides.
Yet most presenters don’t pay enough attention to those slides. Their slides contain too many words, distract from the presentation, and sometimes don’t even relate to what the speaker is saying.
Why does this matter? Because if your slides are boring or distracting, your audience may not remember you or your message. That means they won’t respond to your call to action.
In that case, you’ve just wasted your time and theirs and broken the golden rule of speaking.
How do you ensure that each of your slides really counts when you present? Here are 3 tips:
- Make a Message Map.
- Have a clear purpose for every slide.
- Edit your slides relentlessly.
Presenting tips: Always make a Message Map before presenting
Presenting is a great way to get your message to your target audience, yet many people wait until the last minute to create their presentations. I get it: we’re all short on time. But don’t short yourself and your audience with a presentation that isn’t clear, concise, and compelling.
The best way to make sure your presentation meets your audience’s needs? Make a Message Map BEFORE you create your presentation. A Message Map guides you to create a clear, concise, compelling presentation. It also ensures you deliver your key message more than once – a key to gaining audience confidence in your message.
Presenting tips: Does each slide have a clear purpose?
Once you have your Message Map, and you know what you’re going to say, then it’s time to think about your visual aids. The key thing to remember is that each slide you make needs to serve a clear purpose.
Your slides exist to emphasize your point, NOT to make your point for you. Resist the urge to make too many slides. Focus on where slides can help you make your point better.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Can this message be shown with a picture? When your audience can picture your message, they are more likely to remember
- Am I using lots of numbers that would be easier to follow as a graph or chart?
- Will each visual paint a picture for my audience to help them remember?
If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” make a slide. If not, skip that slide and let the audience focus on you.
Relentlessly edit your slides before presenting
I edited this blog several times before I published it. I also sent it through two other editors. In addition to catching mistakes, we also look for ways to make it shorter. People are impatient, and they won’t keep reading if it’s too long or irrelevant.
The same is true for your slides when you’re presenting. Make it easy on your audience.
Edit your slides several times. Are they easy to read, even from a distance? You want the people in the back of the room to see and recall your message.
Are they short and to the point? If you need to read your slides word for word, you appear unprepared.
When you can, practice presenting in front of a colleague or family member and get their feedback on your slides. It’s always good to get another opinion.
Presenting is a great way to get your story heard. Make sure your slides add to your message rather than distracting from it by making a Message Map, having a clear purpose for each slide, and relentlessly editing before you present.
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