Updated: Jun 22
I went to four networking events last week. Two of them had top shelf, best in the game level speakers. All four were deeply flawed.
Here are some tips to help you avoid annoying your audience or undermining your own role in your presentation.
1. Make it visible. If you have to say, This is not going to be good for the people sitting at the back, you are not thinking about your audience. Make it bigger! Think in terms of minimum font size of between 30- 40.
2. Don't read off the screen. The eye is faster than the ear. If you are reading off the screen what everyone else can read, you just made yourself redundant. Your images should support you in your presentation, not the other way round.
3. Put your lap top on presenter mode so you can see the next screen coming up. This will help you bridge to the next slide before it us up on screen. That pause while the speaker looks at their own screen to remember what they need to say at the same time the audience sees it, is just deadly.
4. Does your graph look like a cat fought with string? Does it look like the string won? If your graph is too dense to read, simplify it for the essentials. If you have to present a great deal of data, color the key areas of your table. If it's a graph, build it up in layers for us so we can follow the multiple overlaid lines.
5. Do not put full sentences on your screen. Do. Not. And then, Lord have mercy, do not read those sentences to me. (See 2. above) This is central to avoiding death by PowerPoint, commonly known as one of the leading causes of mass sleeping at conferences around the world.
The potential list of tips is long but these five are key. Have mercy on your audience. Use these tips.