Chris Croft
Tips of the Month Archive

Presentation Skills Tip 5


Overcoming nerves

Microsleeps and what you can do about them

Making your presentation interactive

Adjusting your timing

Powerpoint pros and cons

Making your talk interactive

Powerpoint what could go wrong?

Powerpoint advanced tips


Your opening minute

How to remember your talk

Powerpoint - pros and cons
Everyone is using Powerpoint nowadays, and projectors are down to about 1000 (still quite a lot!!) and are small enough to carry easily (when I was a lad you needed a trolley for your projector!)

Clearly it's good when you want to look really polished and professional (provided the slides don't have typos and come zooming in from the side with a screeching sound, but that's another story!) and it's essential when you are talking to a large audience, say over 100.

It also has the advantages that you can insert photos, you can build up lists one line at a time (much better than a piece of paper covering up half the Overhead Projector slide!), and the presentation itself reminds you what to say next.

But it does have its disadvantages, and I think a flip chart can often be more effective.

Snags with Powerpoint: time taken to set up (bet you can't do it in less than 10 minutes, so if you're following someone else that's a problem); unreliability (so many things can go wrong, and frequently do); can be too formal; can look as if you don't really know about the subject - you're just presenting a flash slide show; and can be inflexible (although you can in theory put links to other pages, in reality you've got to plod through all your slides in order, whereas with an OHP you can miss out some, and with flip chart you can do what you like!)

If I'm using Powerpoint I try to work in a few audience questions to make it a bit interactive, and the occasional digression over onto a flipchart before returning to the slides. This makes it more informal, more varied, and makes it look as if I really do know what I'm talking about!

Final advantage of Powerpoint - you can edit slides at the last minute, for example if you arrive, see the front entrance, and realise that you've spelt the name of the company wrong on every page of your presentation. Not that that's ever happened to me!

More about Powerpoint - what can go wrong and how to prevent it - on a later tip

have fun!

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