As a follow up to my last post “PowerPoint: The Good, The Bad and The Awful,” I wanted to report on feedback from Peter Darling. It’s obvious he knows a lot more about these presentations since he teaches workshops on the subject. Thus, I wanted to share his post “How to Create a Powerpoint Presentation That Absolutely Kicks Ass,” and specifically his 7 principles that will ensure that you do so:

  1. The listeners will remember no more than six things, so think “very carefully about what those six things are going to be;”
  2. Your time is limited before your audience “mentally check(s) out.” According to Peter, you have “twenty minutes of free attention,” and you ‘d better capture them or you’ll lose them for good;
  3. Interact with your audience by getting them involved;
  4. Remember Murphy’s Law, especially when it comes to PowerPoint presentations. Make sure you know how to get in touch with the IT guy, who can bail you out when something goes wrong, because it will at some point. (Also, get there at least an hour early to check out the audio/visual equipment, room setup, etc.);
  5. Overcome stage fright by realizing that you know a lot more than your audience, or why else would they be there;
  6. Make sure your listeners know how your talk will fit together. Peter’s reminds us of the adage I heard many years ago when it comes to public speaking: “tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them;” and
  7. What you have to say is why the audience is there, not to view your slides. They are merely “an accent, a decoration.” So, put the focus on your talk, not the PowerPoint slides.

Excellent food for thought in making your next presentation as memorable as a kick in the….