• Aneley Lampugnani

Ways you are using PowerPoint wrong

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most widely used presentation software in the world. In fact, more than 35 million PowerPoint presentations are shown each day to audiences of over 500 million people.

Presentations are powerful because they can be used to introduce all kinds of topics and tailored to very different messages each time, and they combine visual elements with the power of oratory. BUT something I have noticed working as a communications consultant is that slides are rarely used as intended. To clarify:

This is what presentations are not...

A white canvas to fill with tons of information

A copy of the script planned to be delivered verbally

A platform to present dense graphs and raw data

This is what presentations should be...

A visually appealing tool

A place to summarize key takeaways in your speech

A platform to showcase relevant information only

It is vital to remember that you are the presentation - Your slide deck is a complement to what you want to communicate. So start with a script, a story and a structure - and only when you are clear on your message create your slides accordingly.

As discussed previously, slides are a visual asset. Whenever you can use an image, an icon or illustration to get your point across, go for it. This will help avoid distractions and facilitate understanding among your audience.

In line with the previous point, text included in your slides should be minimal (if not non-existing). Remember that the power of slides resides in complementing your verbal speech, and not competing with it.

One last tip to make presentations memorable is to approach them as a story: start with an interesting fact, continue with some relevant information, and close with a powerful statement. Very often, we finish presentations with mere "Well... that was all" or plain "Thank you" and in doing so, we are wasting a great opportunity to make a lasting impact in our audience.

If you use PowerPoint at work, make sure to always have in mind your audience and tailor each presentation to those listening. Approach each slide deck as an adventure and an opportunity to communicate in an exciting and inspiring way, and your presentations will impact your audience like never before.

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