I used to be deathly afraid of presenting powerpoint slides to a group. Something within me changed after I started challenging myself to do things outside my comfort zone — I no longer feared it and started to enjoy it! I view presentations more as storytelling to educate or drive action.
Here are some tips to help you kick some powerpoint presentation butt:
- Know what is the objective of the presentation - don’t be shy to state this upfront.
- Have 2–3 key takeaways that people need to remember - share them at the beginning and end of the presentation.
- Keep the slides clean with minimal wording - I usually keep the background and font simple so that the audience can focus on my message.
- Select pictures and videos when appropriate to help tell the story — such visuals can leave a larger impact than any words can say.
- Practice, practice, practice if this is a super important presentation — writing something versus speaking it out is NOT the same. Once you speak the phrase or sentence out, you might have to refine the arrangement and/or word choice to sound more concise and “punchy”.
- Have your 3 “power words” ready — I know that I do best when I am prepared, confident and have a sense of humor. These 3 words work for me and I make sure to be prepared before an important presentation so that the confidence and sense of humor flows. Find the 3 words that work for you!
- Present points in 3s — Humans have limited cognitive retention and a good rule of thumb is to stop at 3 points, 4 if you must. Anything more gets lost in the sea of words and jargon.
- Use simple language — earlier on in my career, I used to think that using jargon meant that “you belonged” and I believed that obfuscating the message with fancy words made me sound smarter. On the contrary, someone who is able to make something complex sound simple will come across as smart.
That’s all the tips I have for now! Being able to handle presentations is life-changing — it allows you to communicate your ideas and to help drive action. It also opens doors to new opportunities in your career. I am thankful for the people who believed in me and gave me those opportunities. The more “presentation wins” you have under your belt, the more momentum you have to keep moving forward and pursuing new opportunities. Find your 3 power words and keep practicing!