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Re-assessing Presentations and the use of PowerPoint
A Step System White Paper by Mark Barnes
Re-assessing Presentations and the use of PowerPoint has evolved from our clients’ obvious love/hate relationship with PowerPoint and their deeply felt frustrations about the way it is used and misused in so many presentations.
On all of Step System Presentation Skills and Effective Communications workshops, we encourage our participants to see themselves as being their own best visual aid, make their case by telling a compelling story and then use visual supports as a means to highlight and add emphasis to their key messages. We teach them that:
- A PowerPoint is not in itself a presentation. A deck of slides can be emailed and reviewed – but it cannot guarantee engagement, neither can it influence persuasively. Glossy and clever slides can offer style...
but what about substance, clarity of message, impact and the ability to flex content in response to an audience?
- A PowerPoint is not a speakers' script. A deck of slides cannot hold detail, demonstrate agility, explore nuance or facilitate debate as a speaker might, neither can it convey their energy, passion, sincerity or depth of knowledge. Who wants to go to a presentation where the speaker just reads their slides, word for word? We want the added value of analysis, interpretation and interaction.
- A PowerPoint is not a record of what was actually communicated. A print out of a deck of slides is a record of what the speaker thought might be useful (or that they had to hand) when they prepared their presentation. The printout cannot distinguish between those areas that turned out to be most relevant to the audience and those which
the speaker glossed over. They do not reflect discussion, debate or where the conversation is NOW, as a result of the presentation. A deck of slides circulated after a presentation provides a lazy, incomplete and one dimensional executive summary.
Re-assessing Presentations and the use of PowerPoint will help you to:
- be clear about your point of view (POV)
- focus on the audience
- chose the best tool for each job
- think through your time allocation
- get real value from the PowerPoint tool – looking at design, flow, contrast, hierarchy of content, congruence & continuity and proximity
- ensure credibility – choose the best layout & format and highlight key points
- choose the best presentation structure – taking account of culture (norms, spectrum, modality and media)
- create STAR stories and explore storytelling
- hit the right rhythm
- provide a focused executive summary
- build in magic and break the presenting mould
- create sound bites and provide several technical Top Tips!
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Haven’t got a copy? Contact Mark directly on firstname.lastname@example.org