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PowerPoint Tips
Volume 7, No. 3

Published 06/17/11


PowerPoint Tips*
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First I would like to welcome our new subscribers. 
In this issue of PowerPoint* Tips I answer questions about managing bullets and the some preventative measures to avoid a "Death by PowerPoint".  Just this week we went live with a new website chocked full of Social Media features, added our Twitter Feed, and started a Blog. The content will be updated frequently, and our French site is online as well and on track to be completed by end of the month.  Please take a look and provide feedback on our new website.


Eliminate bullet points with a
Soft Return   

Bullet points are great for presenting lists or single concepts however at times they can oversimplify complex concepts.  Clients often struggle with quickly deleting the bullet or creating a new line (without a bullet).  The soft return is a great workaround for this, as it allows you to create a new line without starting a new paragraph. It has the added benefit of allowing you to retain the slide layout. Simply place the curser at the end of a line and press Shift|Enter.  If on the other hand you are at the start of the first line simply backspace to erase the bullet and then press Tab if you wish to preserve the same margin. 

If you wish to present a paragraph of text in sentence form (a more complex point) I recommend inserting a text box.  Make certain that you are using the same margin, font and line spacing.

Four ways to avoid "Death by PowerPoint" **

Death by Details

Slides with too much information are sure to kill your presentation.  Granted business presentations can be a little busier however the trend now is to keep it light.
I typically recommend the 7 * 7 rule.  Seven words per line, seven lines per slide.  I have seen people reduce the font size to fit more on a slide.  I advise that the minimum font size be set at 20 points.  I also see clients attempt to squeeze many charts on a single slide. 
I recommend one chart per slide or at most two if they are contrasting or complimentary data.

Death by Lack of Visuals

Research has shown that audiences don't read and listen at the same time.  Yet another reason why text heavy slides fail to resonate with audiences.
Try to communicate using visuals with few to no words on the slide. At the end of the day your slides should be your visual aids.

Death by Boredom

Failing to consider the needs of the audience may bore and indeed annoy your audience.  Learn about your audience beforehand and demonstrate or outline what you are going to present at the start of the presentation.  Make certain that you are not presenting material they already know, and that you are not too technical or content oriented. Do not read off your slides or repeat every word on a slide.

Death by Presentation Style

More than any other factor style will make or break your presentation.  Speak clearly; be aware of your body language and position.  Make eye contact with the audience; avoid turning your back to read off your slides. I tend to use my laptop as a teleprompter and position it between myself and the audience.  Ask colleagues for feedback or better yet record yourself.  In this ever more fast paced world it is essential to respect your audience's time. I believe it is better to skip over some content than to go over your time allocation.  Speakers who consistently respect time constraints gain a reputation for being focused organized presenters.
*  Microsoft® Office PowerPoint®, Excel® and Word®
Copyright © Microsoft  Corporation

**  Inspired by the book "101 Tips Every PowerPoint User Should Know"
by author Ellen Finkelstein.
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