Kelly Vandever - Communications for Everyone

5 Golden Rules of Speaking to Promote Your Business, Without Turning Off Your Audience – Rule #5 – Don’t Use the Default Format in PowerPoint.

In Presentation Tips on June 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

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Don't Use the Default PowerPoint Approach!

I was preparing for a presentation for the Atlanta Chapter of the Society for Technical Communications.  The name of the presentation was “How NOT to Give a Boring Technical Presentation.”  (Brief side note – what was I thinking with that title! It’s like presuming that I was NOT going to be boring!  Talk about a higher standard!  …But I digress.)


I tweeted the question, “What makes a presentation boring.”  @Mitch_Willis replied, “PowerPoint presentations!  As soon as I see powerpoint, my eyes start to bleed from boredom.”


Wow, Mitch has a strong opinion!


Throw Out PowerPoint All Together?  Not so Fast.


I know people who say we should ditch PowerPoint all together.  I think they’re over reacting.  Visuals help make the material easier to remember.  What annoys people are the bullet point default that we’ve all learned to use in PowerPoint.  Here’s my solution.


Rule #5 – Don’t Use the Default Format in PowerPoint.


Move your bullets to the notes section and start using pictures and two or three key words on each slide.   Put only one point per slide.  Enlarge the pictures you use to fill the entire screen.


Look, you know your material.   This is your business for crying out loud!  You don’t need the crutch of the words on the slides to tell you what you need to say.  Let the visuals make the concepts more memorable for your audience and remind you of the point you want to make.


Personally I like the approach discussed by Garr Reynolds in his book Presentation ZenLook at YouTube at Steve Jobs’ presentations.  Check out multiple approaches on Olivia Mitchell’s blog at  Or search my blog for “PowerPoint Slides” and see “how to” examples that will help you create better PowerPoint Slides.


What Do You Think?


Am I full of malarkey?  Should we throw out all PowerPoint slides?  Or do you think the default, bullet point approach works well?  What do you do?  Give us your experience and opinions in the Comments section!


Concluding the 5 Golden Rules to Promote Your Business Without Turning Off Your Audience Series


Applying the 5 Golden Rules to Promote Your Business Without Turning Off Your Audience isn’t hard.  Ultimately remember – don’t say or do anything that would turn you off if you were the person in the audience.  Follow these rules, and your audience will not only thank you.  They’ll give you their business.


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