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"I hate PowerPoint!" In recent months I have heard senior executives say that. One explained that he did not hate PowerPoint but hated what it did to his presenters. Another said that there were three things in communication that he hated: PowerPoint, podiums, and paper (notes). Both of these executives are saying that PowerPoint can hurt as well as help a presentation. It can be your enemy.

An Incredible Invention. For those who remember overhead projectors and slides…you appreciate the value of PowerPoint. You can make changes instantly. To change a slide was often an overnight process. Overhead slides had to be handled with care, could slip off the machine, and required an almost magician-like touch to maintain control. PowerPoint allows you to handle all that instantly and produce professional, creative visuals. So far…so good!

PowerPoint Problems. Here are the problems: too many slides, too many words and numbers, and too small to read. I see slides that are so complicated they cannot be understood - even by persons who understand the topic! AND have you ever tried to escape a room when you find out that the presenter has 38 slides!! All this is complicated further when the presenter talks to the slides - and not to the audience!

You Are The Presentation! The superior technology of PowerPoint can have an unintended consequence. The slides become the presentation! The most important element in every presentation is the presenter. The slides are there to help you. They can be guides, attention-getters, and colorful visual images. You are the presentation!

Positive Recommendations. Use fewer slides, more pictures and uncomplicated charts, key words only, and make them large enough to read easily. Ask yourself when you prepare…Do I REALLY need this slide? And learn to use the B key. If you see the audience paying more attention to the slide than to you…If you want to hide a slide and get the audience back, hit the B key. The slide will go to blank, and you’ll be back in control.

So, don’t give up on PowerPoint; use it sparingly and wisely. Make sure it’s your Friend, not your Enemy.

Mike Jousan

Remote Online Coaching via Skype or Webex
Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking
Be a Great Executive Speech MakerCommunicate Up to senior executives
Make Customers Love You! (customer service)
Communicate ConfidentlyHandle Media Appearances
Make presentations in English when it's not your first language
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