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Using PowerPoint Effectively in a Business Meeting

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  • 0:03 Effective Presentations
  • 0:42 PowerPoint Basics
  • 1:38 What Should I Think About?
  • 5:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Colette Rominger

Colette has taught many business and management courses and has a Masters in Adult Education and Training as well as an MBA

Have you attended a meeting in which the presenter simply read information directly from PowerPoint slides? This lesson will teach you how to craft an effective presentation that will keep your audience interested and help you avoid reading your slides.

Effective Presentations

Have you ever attended a meeting where you left wondering why you had to waste your valuable time there? Could they just have easily sent an email with the information rather than having someone read slides? This occurs more often than we would like to think. If information is important enough to schedule a meeting, then we should present it in a way that people can easily see, understand, and hopefully remember. PowerPoint can be a valuable tool to convey information and is a great way to engage visual learners, but we have to use it effectively and understand a few basics before we get started.

PowerPoint Basics

Microsoft PowerPoint is basically a way to create a slideshow in an organized fashion in order to present information to individuals or groups. PowerPoint can be used on a projector for large groups or can be emailed to users or groups of users. It is very versatile and widely used, and it is included in the Microsoft Office Suite, a standard set of office software, so it is readily available to most.

PowerPoint is a great tool to help relay information in a visual way. Many people learn by hearing information, but the retention of information is increased with the use of visual aids. The use of slides enables the audience to see a picture, graph, or other information on the screen or handout while the presenter is speaking. It also helps you to gather information in a meaningful way, including data and credit to sources.

What Should I Think About?

When you begin creating a presentation using PowerPoint, you will first want to create a basic outline of the information that you wish to present. It does not have to be set in stone as you can easily shuffle the order of the slides later if needed. You should then look at designs and colors for your theme and create a title slide with a heading that will hook your audience right away.

Visual Content

Visuals are important! When adding content to slides, remember that you want to have more visual elements (like pictures, charts, or graphs) and fewer words per slide. The visual element on the slide should be used to emphasize the point you are making on that particular slide. Along the same lines, try to only make one main point per slide. Your audience will see the picture and hear what you are saying about the topic, which hopefully increases retention of the information. A notable exception, though, is if you need to compare and contrast two or more items. In that case, it makes sense for those to share a slide.

Text

Keep text to a minimum. There is no need to put all of the words you are using on the slides. If it is helpful, you can add your points in the notes section at the bottom to serve as a reminder for your eyes only. Although it is very tempting, try not to use bullet points on your slides. Presenters who use bullet points tend to read the information directly from the slides instead of engaging the audience. No one wants words on a page read to them. As a general rule, you should try to use no more than five words per line and five lines per slide.

Keep It Simple

Try to keep it simple. There are some features that are very tempting for us to overuse. These include: animation, sounds, fonts, slide transitions, and design. These can be very helpful in enhancing a specific point in a presentation, but when overused it serves to make the presentation too distracting to the audience. If there is an animation, a fade, or rotation between every slide and multiple sounds, this will ultimately draw attention away from the important points.

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