How to Avoid Killing Your Audience with PowerPoint

Create an effective and engaging presentation.

Jeb Blount
October 26, 2010

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With this in mind here are the Sales Guy’s quick and dirty tips for keeping your presentations on track with PowerPoint:

  1. Keep It Simple: When it comes to PowerPoint remember that less is more. If you have ever witnessed a PowerPoint slide with a complicated background, fifty bullet points, loads of text or lots of cute animations you know what I mean. Your slide should never be the focal point of your presentation. Many of our PowerPoint slides will have just a single impactful word – nothing else. Remember, the PowerPoint slide is just the track you are the train.

  2. Don’t Read The Damn Slides: Nothing and I mean nothing, kills a presentation like the presenter turning away from the audience to read the slides. First, practice your presentation so that you don’t need the slides as a crutch. Next, see tip number one. Keep your slides simple so that you do not put so much info on a slide that it requires you to read it. If you have detailed information for your audience put it on a hand-out.

  3. Make Slides Easy To Read: If your audience has to strain to read your slides you’ve got problems. The last thing you want to do as a presenter is make it hard for your audience to hear your message. If they are straining to read your slide – they will not be listening to you. Always use a minimum 28 point font. If you are concerned you won’t be able to get everything on your slide because this font is too big see rule number one.

  4. Reduce the Number of Slides: I’ve seen many PowerPoint presentations that consist of 50 or more slides. These behemoth presentations exist because the presenter feels that every detail is important and she needs to tell her audience everything. Never forget that People Buy You – not the slides – and they Buy You because you choose to talk about the things that are most important to them. When developing your presentation focus on the top five most important issues for your audience and present solutions to those issues. They will be more attentive and participatory and you will be much closer to getting the deal done.

Two resources I recommend for improving your presentation skills are:

This is Jeb Blount, the Sales Guy. If you have a sales question please send it to salesguy@quickanddirtytips.com.

Presentation image courtesy of Shutterstock


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