August 30, 2023

Presentation Tips to Avoid Death by PowerPoint

I am sure most of us have sat through death by PowerPoint. But how do we avoid this?

I am sure most of us have endured death by PowerPoint. We have sat watching someone, back towards us, reading a long list of points from a screen. Often, I have simply thought, if they were just going to read the slides, why didn’t they just email the presentation to me to read? 

But how do you avoid this? You are not a professional speaker, and you are already busy enough managing your day-to-day business. Well, in this blog, I want to cover how you can say goodbye to “Death by PowerPoint” and hello to presentations that captivate and convert.

Remember, They’re Here For YOU, Not Your Slides

Let’s get this straight. When people sit to watch a presentation, they want to hear from the expert—that’s you—not read slides. While slides are helpful, but they shouldn’t take the limelight. Your audience should walk away thinking, “Wow, they really know their stuff,” not, “Those were some busy slides.”

Tip: Keep it Simple

Use your slides to illustrate your point, not narrate it. Limit text, opt for compelling visuals, and steer clear of overwhelming your slides with information. 

Each slide should make 1 point, 1 idea or one concept. It is better to have 10 slides each with 1 point than 1 slide with 10 points on it. If your slide can’t be understood in 3 seconds, it needs to be simplified. Remember, you want people to listen to you, not read slides.

Use your voice

Your voice is an instrument. Play with your tone, pitch, and volume to emphasise your presentation’s key points. Monotone is the enemy of engagement, and if you’re reading straight from the slide, you risk falling into the monotone trap.

How you say something is more important than what you say. If you tell a dog to “go away” but in an excited and friendly voice, they more often than not come to you. 

Tip: Practice, but don’t Memorise

Knowing your material is vital, but avoid sounding like a recorded message. This often happens when you are reading from slides, too. Practice to familiarise yourself but leave room for spontaneity; it makes you relatable and more engaging.

Your Body Speaks Louder Than Words

Now, let’s talk about body language. Good posture screams confidence and will mean the audience wants to hear from you. Eye contact establishes trust. I don’t mean to stare at someone and make them uncomfortable, but looking at people as you talk personalises the presentation and makes people trust you.

Use hand gestures to emphasise points and facial expressions to convey emotion. The way you physically present yourself sets the atmosphere for your talk, making you not just a speaker but a performer. And trust me, performance is key in any business; ask any Business Mentor.

Tip: Stand tall

Imaging a bit of string is pulling you up. Standing tall not only helps your posture but also your voice.

Be a Storyteller

Everyone loves a good story. Transform your points into a narrative to make them memorable. Stories activate parts of our brain that pure facts and figures can’t, so get creative! Facts tell, stories sell.

A well-timed anecdote or relevant example can often drive a point home far better than a bullet-point list on a slide.

Tip: Set The Stage, Don’t Just Dive In

Introduce what you’re going to cover and why it’s relevant. This ‘hook’ can be a startling statistic, a provocative question, or a bold statement. Once you’ve got their attention, proceed to enlighten them.

The rule of three

The Three Musketeers, Stop, look and listen, even snap, crackle, and pop! We love threes. This isn’t by chance; our brains are wired to remember things in threes.

With this in mind, your audience will probably only remember 3 things from your presentation, so it can be a great idea to deliver just 3 ideas.

I also like to use the rule of three to split my presentation into 3:

Tell them what you are going to tell them

Tell them

Tell them what you told them

The Takeaway

Delivering a captivating presentation isn’t rocket science but requires some thought and practice. If you can manage your business, you can manage a room full of people hanging on to your every word.

Feeling the pressure? Remember, the majority of people don’t like the idea of doing a presentation, so no one is judging you if you feel nervous. They are just glad it is not them up there. If you are nervous, it shows you care.  

If you want further tips, follow me on TikTok, or if you want some presentation coaching, just get in touch. I can train you and your team to deliver killer presentations every time (alternatively, I can come and deliver a presentation for you)