Have you ever attended a meeting where the presenter had their entire speech written out on PowerPoint slides, which they “presented” by reading the slides, nearly word for word, to the audience?

And did you think to yourself that much better use of your time would have been for you to read the slides yourself some other time?

We all know PowerPoint is a great way to add visual interest to a presentation. Too often, however, presenters allow PowerPoint to do the presenting for them.

Eyes on You
Sure, we all get a little nervous when dozens (if not hundreds) of eyes are staring at us. Nonetheless, the goal is to keep your audience’s eyes on you, not on your screen. What you don’t want is for them to ignore you as they try to read every tiny word on the screen.

PowerPoint Tips
PowerPoint is meant to complement a presentation, not drive it. Here are a few tips for presenting like a pro with PowerPoint.

The rule of thumb is about one side per minute. For a 30 minute presentation, have about 20-30 slides, including the following:
– Title Slide, with your name, company name, and the title of your presentation
– Agenda Slide with the main points of your presentation
– Section dividers based on the agenda items
– Summary Slide to drive home the main points of the presentation

CTA, or “Call To Action” Slide, assuming you want the audience to take a specific action after listening to your presentation
– “Thank You” slide

• Have a balance of text slides and image slides, leaning more heavily on images.
• Use text slides to really drive home a point.
• Avoid using clipart. Instead, try to use original photos or photographic images, which are easy to find on the internet.
• Use the speaker notes section to write out your presentation, not the slides themselves.

Finally, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse until your delivery is as polished as possible. The more polished you come across, the more confidence your audience will have in you.

About Your Columnist

Amy Brandais, M.A. is a featured columnist for Women Lead, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she highlights the importance of strategic communications. Amy has been a communications consultant for over 20 years under the moniker “Amy the Writer,” helping companies develop strategic solutions to their communication challenges and strengthen their relationships with both internal and external audiences.


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