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PowerPoint - Presentation advice

General information
The presentation
Technical aspect of the presentation
Problems to avoid
Are you ready?

General information

+Here are the stages to be followed for a presentation.

- Accumulate all the necessary material for the presentation; much more than necessary. You have to be ready for just about anything and everything.
- Prepare the presentation in the software. The presentation should be "well done".
- Prepare to give the presentation; get ready, equip yourself with material, prepare the premises of presentation.
- Give the presentation.
- Take as much feedback as you can from the public; to be better prepared for the next presentation.


+The main reasons for a presentation are to inform, to persuade or for a call to the action. It's not to distract. Use additional objects such as a chart, a drawing, an animation to improve the understanding of the message.

+The first question to ask after having agreed to give a presentation is to know how much time is assigned to you. This will largely affect the kind of presentation that you will be able to give and how you prepare for it.

+Begin with the end. Give your conclusion and take the rest of the time to explain it. Don't forget a reminder at the end of the presentation.

+The text of slides consists of keywords. It's up to you to explain them and to give them meaning.

+Read the tricks offered to the opening of the PowerPoint program. They can help improve your presentation and avoid some traps.

+Do not overload a slide. The audience should be capable of finding quickly the main point of the slide. Be clear and precise. What's important is your presentation and not the special effects that you could add to your slides.

+If need be, give a reminder document of the presentation. Do it at the end. Otherwise, everybody will have read your presentation even before you start.

+Be consistant ! Use the same formatting, the same type of characters in the same size throughout your presentation. This facilitates the reading of your text for the audiance.

+It's possible to look for and to replace a word.
Ex: The advantages for the company X of your morning presentation can quickly become those of the company Y for that for the afternoon. Use the replace option in the Edit menu.

+The kind of equipment, premises and preparation for the presentation varies according to the size of the group to that you go to present. There are three categories: from 1 to 3 persons, from 4 to 25 persons and 25 and more.

The presentation

+Do not put more than 6 points per slide for dot lists.

+Before presenting, use the spelling option under the menu Tools. You could avoid some embarrasing errors.

+The main title of the slide should be on a single row. limit yourselves to a maximum of 5 in 7 words for the title.

+The subtitle is a summary of the slide and can several times take more than a row.

+To end the presentation gently, add a black slide at the end of the presentation. So, when the slide show ends, you'll not return to slide mode.

+At the beginning of the presentation, inform the public if you prefer to be interrupted for questions during the presentation or that you prefer to receive questions at the end of it.

+At the beginning of the presentation, inform the public if you prefer that it asks questions during the presentation or later in a question period or Q&A. For a big group, it's better have a more formal tone. The Q&A phase is preferable for small groups. But I followed an excellent presentation with 400 people that had a Q&A period at the end.

+Be honest. If you don't have the answer to a question, say it at once. If the person wants this data, you can contact them later with the answer.

+Give the time to the public to take notes.

+Vary the tone of the voice on the important points of your presentation or according to the presented material. Don't put too much of it!

Technical aspect of the presentation

+As soon as you know that you'll have a presentation to give, to visit the place of the presentation. Inquire on the availability of the premises and the available material. Maybe they have resources that you would not have imagined such as of the special material for the presentations. Ex: video, huge screens, projectors for computers etc. Is there a technical respresentitive on the spot to help during the installation of the equipment? Is the premise comfortable for the presentation? Is everybody capable of reading comfortably the text of your presentation? Even from behind of the room or hall ?

+Before the big day of the presentation, take the time to reserve the premises with all the necessary equipment to practise your presentation. It's the moment to verify some points. The persons in the heart of the premises can read the text projected on the huge screen? Is the font used make the text difficult to read ? Will the people be capable of hearing you at the end of the room?

+Make the settling of the slide show on the computer that will be used for the presentation. This precaution allows to discover some possible technical problems.

+Make sure that the font is big enough to be legible even from behind of the room used for the presentation. Is you can't reserve the room before presentation day, try this. Print your presentation. The text should be legible when you hold the page at arms length.

+Even with all these preparations, make sure to have a contingency plan. If the computer or the projector is defective, you can also have transparent slides in box of major difficulty. At best, you can rent a computer for the period, install your presentation software, install your presentation and still be ready in time for the public.

+Make a security copy of your presentation: on floppy disk, on LS-120 disk, Zip drive or flash memory. Some presenters even placed a copy of their presentations on Web or copy of their document on the Internet. So that, the presentation is also available from any computer connected to the internet.

+Bring a power bar to protection against power surges and static electricity. This is really not the time to lose your computer. An extension cord also!

+Remove the screen saver before giving the presentation. It's not the time to pop in during the presentation.


+Try to have the best possible contrast between your text and the back of your presentation.

+For 35mm slides, it's better to have a back plan sinks.

+To have the best possible effect, use 2 or three colors for the slide.

+Do not use the red or green colors to put of the accent on a word or on an object. Between 10 % and 15 % of the population have difficulty differentiating these colors.


+Use a single font: Helvetica, Times...

+Use the size of the font and the effect such as to put in bold or in italic to add of the bombast. Use a font without sérif for a better legibility.
Ex: With sérif T without sérif T

+Don't write a text in capital letter. Use capital letters only for the first letter of a sentence.

+You can put a little spine by changing the font for a special effect. Don't reuse this font at any other time; only one or two times during your presentation.

+The white and yellow color are the best for the text.


+Put of the accent on the part of the chart that should interest the public by using a more brilliant color, a pattern that pricks the interest or by easing the other data.

[ Chart in example of the point]

+You can carry out a rotation of the chart on the three dimensions to give the best effect to the chart.
+Add a back plan to the chart instead of with a white bottom.
+Add an picture to the chart that helps better to interpret the result of the chart. Ex: An arrow pointing upward to demonstrate an increase of the profits.

Problems to be avoided

+Use the K.I.S.S. rule (Keep It Simple Stupid). Use simple terms targeted for the public.
+Avoid putting too many objects on a slide. Add an object, or a text, if it helps the undestanding of the main point. The main objective of any presentation is that the message is clear and be well understood by the audience.

Now that the presentation is ready, are you?

+Set time aside for practice. Once that's done, ask a charitable soul to listn you. Then, ask for a constructive criticism on your presentation. Ask that are the key points as well as the weak points. Who was badly understood? What needs polishing or revision?

+If you can organize it, save your presentation on video. You can revise your presentation yourself:

+Do you often reuse the same words?
+Are your explanations understandable?
+Is your voice clear?
+Is your body in a steep or abnormal position?

+Don't learn by heart your presentation. It becomes quickly evident to the public that you're reciting a text. The assembled persons will lose interest and fall fast asleep. Base yourselves on subjects and points to be covered.

+Nohing in your hands. Nohing in your pockets. And especially not your hands in your pockets!

+Be interested in the subject, it's contagious! Especially if the subject is well explained in terms that the audience understands.

+Prepare a small sheet of paper with points to cover. Thre should not be between 10 and 15 words to cover your presentation completely.

+You should again get ready. Master all the material that you have to cover. Even if your presentation should be that a fly-by on a subject. You can go further if there's an inquiry on a particular point, or to bring some clarifications on a point. This implies also a gather more data than to just cover the bases on the subject. You should become an expert of it.


Stand and deliver in style! Tom Yager, Windows Magazine, Flight(theft). 5, no 1, in January, 1994, p. 180

Creating dramatic graphics for your next office presentation ., Ralph Blodgett, Windows Magazine, Flight(theft). 3, no 8, in September, 1992, p. 154

Show and tell, Dona Z. Meilach, Windows Magazine, Flight(theft). 7, no 3, in March, 1996, p. 214

How to speak in public, Dale Carnagie, The publishing(editions) Québécor, 1994 , 203 pages

Anatomy of has great presentation, Patricia Calderon, Windows Magazine, in June, 1998, p. 200

50 ways to make your company's tale memorable, the éditeurs, Mobile computing & communications, septembre 1998, p. 74





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