Mrs. Suman Bhatia, a senior HR with one of the top companies in India writes exclusively for FaaDoOEngineers.com. This is her second write-up with us. This time she shares her insight on creating awesome PowePoint presentations and delivering them effectively. Here is what she has to say--
Ive done hundreds of presentations during the course of my career and sat through many more. Some have been well received and others less than successful. Below are seven points to keep in mind when you are delivering a presentation so that it is a successful one:
Look for ways to involve the audience. One of the most effective presenters I worked with would ask the audience at the onset of any presentation what their objectives for the meeting were (what they expected or hoped to get out of the meeting) and then list these on a white board. This is a great way to get the audience involved from the outside. An attendee that participates in the meeting by raising questions and/or providing comments is much more likely to walk away with a positive view of the meeting.
Ask open ended questions such as; what is important to you, how does this impact you and what are your biggest problems.
Dont be afraid to adjust your presentation in real time. It is OK to turn off the projector and go the white board if the audience wants to focus on a particular item. The primary of objective of any presentation is usually not to show each slide of the PPT and almost always includes improving the audiences perception of the topic you are delivering on.
Be sure you are talking at level that is compatible with the audience (technical, end users, management
) and that your content matches their expectations.
As you prepare for a presentation it is good to reflect on how much time you will be consuming (duration of presentation X number of attendees). For a 15 minute presentation with 15 people you are consuming 225 minutes of time. This is a good way to remind you to focus on ensuring that your presentation adds value.
Humor can help a presentation and relax a stiff audience. Be careful not to use humor or make comments that disparage a group or class of individuals. You will likely offend someone and do more harm than good.
Smile and be enthusiastic and positive. People are drawn to those who are happy and positive.
Now, before we deliver a presentation, we have to create one! I regularly review PowerPoint presentations prior to their delivery. Let me share with you the 11 items I check:
Consistent use of fonts. I regularly see different fonts and font sizes used throughout presentations (in headers, footers, bullet points and diagrams). Often this is a result of a new presentation being created by assimilating content from existing ones.
Long slide headers or titles. The header should be simple and communicate what the primary objective of a given slide is. It does not need to be a complete sentence.
Proper use of English (please refer to my prior write-up entry entitled A Guide To Improving English And Removing Those Common Mistakes For Students & Professionals).
Distorted images. Images which have been scaled disproportionately either horizontally or vertically. I often see images that are 75% in one direction and 175% in another. Also note, usually when you scale an image more then 125% it creates a noticeable reduction in image quality.
Too many bullets on a single page (usually 5 or 6 should be the max).
Overly complex diagrams with lots of minuscule text. Simple easily understood diagrams communicate a message more quickly and effectively than complex ones.
When text is placed colored areas, as is often the case in headers, using shadows makes it much more readable.
Use of bright colors as background colors for text boxes. Note, the European and US color palettes are much more subdued than that in India. Clothing colors are a perfect example. The bright colors (e.g. orange, green, yellow) often used in India generated presentations dont look right when viewed from a N. American or European perspective.
Long sentences. Bullet points should be exactly that bullet points small and to the point. Extended explanations and stories should be part of the oral presentation. Otherwise you are just reading your presentation which quickly bores an audience. Note, comments in speaker notes helps other people effectively utilize presentations and thereby leverages the time and effort that was put into creating a presentation.
Crowded slides (ones where the content overwrites the header and/or footer).
Redundant slides or slides that detract from the key message. When you are creating a presentation keep in mind the primary message(s) you wish to communicate and to whom you will be speaking. Eliminate slides which do not support the primary message or which do not speak to your audience (e.g. overly technical material to high level managers or business users, lack of focus on benefits to managers
If you include these 11+7 tips in your presentations, I am pretty sure you would not only be able to give FaaDoO presentations to your colleagues and your team. All the best & Good Luck!