When you read the word PowerPoint, you probably have a clear image in your head. Endless slides filled with nothing but droning information you find overwhelmingly irrelevant. A person standing at the front of the room—seemingly as bored as you—reading directly off those slides.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can avoid giving a boring PowerPoint presentation by using these six simple strategies.
Use Text Sparingly
A lot of people have the tendency to create text-heavy PowerPoint presentations. This is a sure-fire way to put your audience to sleep. Nobody wants to read a bunch of text, then sit there while you read it back to them. There are few things more infuriating than sitting through a presentation where the speaker just reads directly off their slides. That’s a waste of people’s time. Plus, it makes people question your passion (and knowledge).
Bullet points can be used when appropriate. However, they should only be supporting information, not the entirety of what you’re saying. Quotes and key phrases can also help enhance meaning and comprehension. As a rule, tend to the side of making your slides image-heavy versus inundated with words. Note: This means good, relevant images—not just random, mildly associated ones.
Don’t Let the PowerPoint Be the Main Focus
Your PowerPoint should only be there to enhance what you’re saying, not the center of attention. What’s the purpose of giving a presentation at all if you’re taking a backseat to your slideshow? You, and the words coming out of your mouth, need to be the stars of the show. This goes along with the idea of keeping your slides minimal and complimentary.
Incorporate Interactive Tools
Interactivity is one of the best ways to engage your audience with PowerPoint. Boosting audience engagement is an effective way to raise interest and comprehension. Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to accomplish this thanks to a variety of tools built for presentations. Polls and surveys are a wonderful option for incorporating interactivity.
People looking for interactive PowerPoint ideas should consider using Poll Everywhere. This platform lets presenters integrate interactive polls directly into their slides. Audience members can respond through their smartphones, and see their composite, real-time results.
Don’t Try to Do Too Much
If you’re going to do something, do it the right way. This means focusing your time and energy into perfecting a few things, as opposed to doing a sloppy job with many. While this can be considered solid advice for life in general, it certainly applies to PowerPoint presentations. Suffocating listeners with subpar information and presentation isn’t going to win them over. Keep things to what you know. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, it’s better to cut it out than to damage the quality of your work.
Offer Accessory Materials
As already mentioned, you shouldn’t load up your PowerPoint with information. This will lead people to tuning out from what you’re saying, and not really getting anything out of the presentation. If there are some things you consider crucial, offer them up with accessory materials. This can be something as simple as a paper handout—or even an online document people can view on their phones. Just don’t fall into the trap of overloading people with information on your slideshow.
If you want to engage people with your PowerPoint, take the time to make yourself more interesting. This doesn’t mean you have to change your personality or become a different person. In fact, don’t do those things. It all comes down to how well you prepare yourself to give your presentation. People will tell if you haven’t practiced enough. Especially think about what you want to be the takeaway for the audience. Devote extra time to making that as clear as possible.
It’s also wise to be conscious of your delivery techniques. What do you do with your hands when you’re giving the presentation? How natural are your body movements and facial expressions? What’s the right pacing for speaking? When should you add in some intentional pauses? Acing these things will elevate the quality of your work.
PowerPoints have gotten a bad rap with a lot of people. This isn’t a failing of the technology, however, but due to how people utilize it. You can avoid giving a boring PowerPoint presentation by adhering to these guidelines.