How would you communicate your actions to others without a PowerPoint file?
Can you imagine attending a meeting where PowerPoint is banned?
As a matter of fact, PowerPoint took power over your communication rituals.
PowerPoint reached such a level of power over you, you even did not realize that it kills you.
That’s a tool you use every day, it should be your best friend.
But it’s your worst enemy. PowerPoint kills you!
PowerPoint is an amazing tool.
It allows you to illustrate and amplify your messages.
Therefore, when correctly used, it is your best companion to show and tell.
Seventy percent of employed Americans who give presentations agree that presentation skills are critical to their success at work – (Forbes)
When the marketing is delivering the created values, mastering “Show & Tell” is of paramount importance.
Tell: you talk to explain the values, you tell stories. This is verbal communication.
Show: you demonstrate the values, you strengthen your messages through visual and impacting illustrations.
Given these two points, no doubt that a software designed to help you creating amazing demonstration is essential in your toolbox. That’s what PowerPoint is!
PowerPoint provides users with great and easy-to-use templates for everything. Among a host of features, it gives you tools to create attractive illustrations, and more important you can add your notes and speech text slide by slide.
Did you attend any boring presentation?
Ask yourself those 2 questions:
Do your really take benefits of PowerPoint?
Are you bored after 5 minutes listening to a presentation?
We all attend meetings with urge desire to leave after 5 minutes. Listening to somebody reading his PowerPoint.
That’s meeting during which you fall asleep, you even don’t remember what was the key messages.
Has a decision been taken during the meeting?
Not really clear!
In many meetings or communications sessions, PowerPoint kills the presenter.
Do you have your PowerPoint driving license ?
That’s the same as car driving.
The first action is to go for training and lessons, to learn the what and the how. Ultimately, it gives you a nice certification, but you are not yet a driver.
The second action is to drive. This lead you growing on the experience curve from beginners to recognized expert.
The fact is that you certainly rushed into PowerPoint, creating PowerPoint files. Without any idea of the power you deal with.
Unfortunately, you ended into meetings where you read your file, like with a teleprompter.
Sometimes, you dare to display an Excel spreadsheet flooded with illegible numbers.
To catch your attendees attention, you added some clip-arts and animated transitions between slides. It inevitably makes you losing your speech sequence, turning your messages in some “Sorry , I already said this”. PowerPoint kills you!
Last, you give or send your PowerPoint file to your meeting attendees. Those guys who stopped listening after 5 minutes, while you were reading your PowerPoint teleprompter. You even don’t know what they will do with your file.
Do yourself a favor!
Start by some online training for PowerPoint to discover all the tools you can access. But don’t use all of them, it will turn your presentation into a messy show.
Going through some training will at least grant you with PowerPoint driving license.
Your job is to show and tell.
it’s all about communicating the values of your offer. Communication is to generate some action. From capturing your audience attention, delivering your story and finally calling for action.
Nothing to do with filling a PowerPoint predefined template.
Your efficiency and impact is in your story telling. PowerPoint is only the tool to strengthen your story with stunning illustrations.
Your issue is that you “write” a PowerPoint file and try to imagine a story behind it. Which is the exact opposite of the logic sequence.
Even it looks like doing it the old way, you must start to write your story. Yes, write! With paper and pen!
Or any other method and tool you feel comfortable with to write and organize your ideas. In our case, to write and organize your speech.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, the story must be easy to understand and relevant to them.
Starting with a good introduction that will catch the attention, through the story that delivers the values of your offer, till the conclusion that will be a call-to-action.
So, what about PowerPoint?
When your story is a done. Only then ! Use PowerPoint to illustrate with impacting pictures that really strengthen your essential message. Here is a short list of tips:
- Forget everything from the Animation sub-menu, do not use this unless you are a professional actor
- Add your speech in the speaker notes,
- Use professional quality images.
- Do not use any acronyms or obscure vocabulary.
- Do not insert any Excel spreadsheet or other tables of figures whatsoever, if it’s required then write a separated report.
- Do not make your PowerPoint file a form to fill or a report to send. If it’s requires, then write a separated document for this.
Last, do not give your file if you don’t know what it will be used for.
There’s only one single good reason to give it: if the receiver will translate and localize both its content and the speech that is embedded, to communicate into another country or another language.
You cannot do that?
I’m aware that you must fill some corporate template and strictly work by the book. Even if it’s hurting your common sense.
Yes, you cannot start a revolution alone and kick out the templates you are given, you cannot stand alone against hundreds of PowerPoint-fillers.
But you can initiate the change and get followers that will appreciate you.
You can lead the change
Next PowerPoint file you must do?
It does not forbid you to write your story and embed it properly in the speaker notes.
Be smart, use your predefined template to illustrate your story, not the opposite.
Ask you peers for a rehearsal, with honest feedback. Ask them to alert you when you turn into a teleprompter reader. Ask them to take note of the key messages they understand. Ask them if the ultimate action you ask them to do is clear and obvious.
Then take benefits of those powerful moments to enhance your slide’s title with the key messages that impacted your peers. Replace your “ready-to-read” sentences by pictures.
Finally, ensure that your introduction is capturing your audience attention, and learn it by heart.
There is much more to do and learn, these are topics for more posts.
However, starting with these recommendations will already take you to a higher level.
Just start doing it and do not hesitate to share your experience with me, using the below comments area.