How to deliver a Powerpoint presentation

By on April 4, 2007

This is a guest post by Brian Lash who can be found at his entrepreneurial blog BrianLash.com (feed).

Most of you guys run Internet-based businesses.  At least that’s my suspicion, because that’s what brought me to Blogtrepreneur.com – the great content about SEO and RSS and every other three-letter acronym that characterizes Web 2.0.

So what place does a post about presentations, you may be asking, have on a blog that emphasizes e-commerce?

The logic is that, Internet age or not, every one of us needs to win buy-in for our ideas.  Whether fundraising to finance a new project.  Or trying to win the favor of a new client.  Or team-building for a startup project.

And many times the medium we use is the Powerpoint presentation.

Unfortunately most of us don’t know a whit about making – much less about delivering – effectivce presentations.

But it’s not our fault – we’ve been ill-trained.

Professionals today encourage us to follow a few simple rules when developing an effective presenation:

  • Limit the number of words per slide:  Different people interpret this point in different ways.  Seth Godin sets the limit to six words.  Others are less rigid about length parameters.  All discourage full sentences.
  • Use BIG fonts:  People should be able to see your words, plainly and clearly.
  • Don’t write what a picture can say:  Graphs, charts, and other statistics are interesting… in a report.  But when using Powerpoint, why not leverage its strengths – the ability to convey emotion.  Grab your audience with a graphic that reinforce your words (re: your message).
  • Don’t get cutesy:  No slide transitions.  And no moving graphics and/or audio unless they are undeniably relevant to your message.
  • Dark text, light background:  Perhaps the easiest of the Powerpoint principles to adopt.  Do it in the interest of visibility - Anything else is hard on the eyes.

Writes Guy Kawasaki, founder and managing directory of Garage Technology Ventures, “I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.”

That’s advice all of us online entrepreneurs would do well to consider.

Have you given a presentation recently?  Did you adopt the principles presented here?  If so, share how it worked out for you.

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