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Creating a PowerPoint Presentation is Fun and Easy
chillibreeze writer — Payal
Presentations are probably the most dreaded, yet necessary concepts in the corporate world. The good news is that creating a PowerPoint presentation can be fun. In fact the software was shaped to make things easier and not to bog one down with its hi-tech applications. The trick is to learn how to use the software by experimenting and applying your discoveries as expertly as possible.
The beauty of PowerPoint is it makes even the most mundane details look great! Imagine a path breaking solution you have thought of for your retailer client who faces walk-in problems at his garment mall. Your idea is to have Shopping Counsellors at the mall who render free customized advice about best prices, best brands, wardrobe tips, and so on based on the need and budget of the customer. The idea is unique, feasible and it might work wonders for the walk-in rate. It’s a brand-building tool that requires little investment so what’s the harm in giving it a shot?
Now how does one try to sell the concept? Either we just type a few lines, email the client and wait for him to revert. The other option is to put the points ‘powerfully’ in form of a presentation and show achievable figures and effective visuals to make the idea look real. It’s then that the client will take you and the idea seriously.
So how does one exactly write a ‘good presentation’? (Translated into ‘saleable’). The secret lies in the process.
The Ten Commandments of writing a good PowerPoint presentation
1) Commandment 1 - Think of a Theme
Whether you are presenting to an audience of 100 or 1, the essence is to make your content appealing and interesting. A suitable theme would make the PPT as ‘infotaining’ as possible. A fine example would be ‘a walkthrough’ i.e. weave a story around a typical customer who walks into a mall one day and finds the counselors waiting on him/her, suggesting brands, colours and so on. Depict a situation as though the concept is alive and allure the client with the results. At the same time, it’s a good way to impress the audience with your lateral thinking skills.
Commandment 2 - Draw a storyboard
We tend to get as zippy as a bullet when the gun is shot - wrong thing to do. The first step is to ‘plan the presentation’. Sitting in front of the PC and trying to create a good presentation is like staring at a wall and trying to see what’s beyond. The wall of the PC doesn’t allow one to think. Get away from the monitor and create the ‘storyboard’. Take a blank sheet of paper, draw mini rectangles and think of exactly what you will write in the title and content slides depending on the theme. Various elements will automatically begin trickling in. The idea is to get the ‘flow’ right and to ensure that the slides are well connected.
Commandment 3 – the 3 C’s
Use your PPT like a movie trailer – give out as much as is required and as little as possible. In short, the PPT must be crisp, concise and clear. The gist of each point should be captured in a maximum of 7 words per point and 4 points per slide. Keep the explanation for direct verbal interaction. If you giveaway everything in the slide, the client might as well read it and ignore your narration. Remember that it’s YOU who are presenting with the help of the PowerPoint and not the other way round.
Commandment 4 – The PowerPoint Beauty Parlor
Aesthetics in a PowerPoint are extremely crucial. Corporates are very finicky about the color schemes and fonts used. Using a kaleidoscope of rainbow colours with a Comic Sans font will make the PPT look like a circus. Although most executives prefer a plain vanilla background, it might turn out to be quite an effortless and bland projection. There are other ways of striking a balance Simple color borders on the bottom and left of the slide. One can use the client’s brand color in shaded effects with a plain black or white background
The standard acceptable font is Arial / Verdana with descending font size for title, subheadings and points. The ideal would be 36, 30 and 24 respectively. One can experiment with a ‘Serious’ looking sans serif font like Arial Narrow or Helvetica. Remember to use the same font in all slides unless required.
Commandment 5 – Using animations / pictures
We all know that a picture speaks a thousand words. Instead of describing the entire concept in a million and one words, just use a good picture from Google or www.gettyimages.com. (Please consider the copyrights too). The use of visuals, charts, diagrams, animations and so on should be used like cooking salt. They render a flavor to the presentation but too many unnecessary visuals make it inedible and frivolous. Starting with a thematic cartoon - joke will put the audience in a relaxed frame of mind. If the pictures are too huge, ensure that you use the ‘compress’ option in the ‘Format picture option’
Commandment 6 - Avoid ‘speling’ and grammatical mistakes by proof reading
More than 3 wrong spellings or semantics can have a disastrous effect on your reputation. Consistent mistakes spell careless attitude, lack of detailing and puts off the reader. Please proofread the entire presentation word by word at least three times and get it proofread once by someone else.
Within the first 3 slides, explain the flow of the presentation so that the audience is aware of the flow and what to expect. Similarly, before winding up, summarize the points in the slide before ending with a ‘Thank You’.
Overuse of ‘flowery’ language can be quite obnoxious. Use simple yet effective words to communicate. Brevity is the key.
While reading, the audience’s eyes move from left to right. Thus put the ‘power’ or ‘action’ words first.
Use suitable custom animation for desired effect, but not in every slide. Using ‘fly from left’ for every line in every slide is a big put off, but many presentations still carry that effect. Aaargh!
The main idea or visual can be animated with ‘box in’ I typewriter effect and ‘dissolve’ respectively for an impact.
There are a few smaller points that one must be aware of:
In a nutshell, creating a good PowerPoint presentation is not a tedious task. Just keep it short, to the point, add good visuals and before clicking on the PowerPoint icon, plan the entire flow on a separate sheet. Believe it or not, it works wonders.
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