Five Under-Emphasized PowerPoint Best Practices
Catching up on old links that I wanted to comment on - here is a
selection regarding some PowerPoint best practices, including five of my
personal favorites that I don't often see in those ubiquitous articles /
postings detailing the Secrets of Presentation Success ...
Under-Emphasized PowerPoint Best Practices
- Never Embed Objects: I grew to dislike embedded
objects years ago, when computers could barely handle the launch of an
Excel instance from within Word, or Visio from within PowerPoint. This
approach also explodes the size of the file, making it difficult to
eMail around the office. A much better approach - build the drawing,
the table, the project plan, etc. in the source application as a
separate file. When finished, copy to the clipboard, and paste into
your presentation using Edit, Paste Special-select the Picture
(Enhanced Metafile) option. You get a nice, small object, that looks
exactly like you want - you can even resize it to get things just
- Use the Right Tool for the [Drawing] Job: Related to
#1 - if you need a drawing of an organization chart, a project gantt,
or a process map, don't hack it together using the drawing tools within
PowerPoint. Go to an application that's loaded with excellent drawing
features, and create the image you need; then, paste the result into
the presentation using the method outlined in #1.
- Same goes for tables of figures; don't kill yourself with a
manually created / formatted table; use Excel to build your figures,
do full formatting (including conditionals!), and just paste the
results into your PPT file.
- Shrink your Graphics Files: Put a single image into
your presentation (ex. for that useless Company Products slide you want
during the introduction), and your file goes to multi-MB just like
that. A better approach would be to get a
decent graphics editor, convert the image to a GIF file, and learn how
to save as an Optimized GIF - this will really shrink the size of the
image,making it much more manageable.
- via lifehacker,
here is an excellent
tutorial from Agarwal, telling how to use
the Compress Picture functionality in PowerPoint. This is especially
helpful if that corporate standard template insists on slapping
your logo on every slide.
- Don't Read: When presenting front of a group, or
walking through a deck around a table, it's exceedingly bad form to read
the bullets. More often than not, everybody in the room can read as
well as you can; besides, you sent the file out for a pre-read, right?
Right? The key is to pick off the major points you need to make, not
recite every single one. Another option is to provide more detail,
specifics around the text on the screen - the slide is just a prompter
for your pithy examples and amazing depth of understanding.
- Don't Forget to Breathe: I need to remind myself of
this one all the time: you've practiced so many times, and you're aware
of the dwindling time allotment (45 slides in 30 minutes, hmmm). Young
captured this nicely in this
post, especially Hack #2. When I rush through my sentences and start to
run out of air, I will stop to breathe; it was nice to read Young's
statement that the audience doesn't really notice this.
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