PowerPoint has changed the way we present and are presented to. PowerPoint is used on a daily basis across a plethora of business sectors as well as in the educational sector. While PowerPoint is a great program with endless possibilities, there are a lot of rookies who are buying into three big myths about presentations and making mistakes as they go along. We’ve busted three of the most common PowerPoint myths wide open.
Myth 1: Animation always enhances a PowerPoint
Animations are a great way to draw attention to your PowerPoint presentation and pique a person’s interest, but animations don’t always enhance a presentation, in fact, some animation may actually detract from a presentation. Experts suggest only using graphics and animation where and when it is necessary. For example, if you are giving a presentation on the profit margins of a company a graphic chart of profit margins over a five year period is useful and can enhance the presentation; a graphic of two business men shaking hands, while relevant to the discussion, adds very little in the way of substance. Avoid any graphics that don’t add substance to the presentation, and only use graphics that elaborate on the points you plan on making.
Myth 2: A PowerPoint presentation should stand on its own.
This is completely false. A PowerPoint presentation is supposed to be a visual aid for the audience and the presenter should have additional information to add. If your PowerPoint presentation is so in-depth that you don’t actually need to elaborate, well, you might as well have written a white paper. Use the 10/20/30 rule. There should be 10 slides, the presentation should take 20 minutes, and 30-point font should be used with the presentation. Limiting the work to 10 slides ensures that you, the presenter, is actually elaborating on each slide. 20 minutes gives you the wiggle room you need to setup and answer questions at the end of a presentation hour. Finally, 30-point font makes sure the people checking out the presentation can actually read it and read it easily when it is up on the screen.
Myth 3: The closing doesn’t matter.
A lot of presenters seem to think their closing just doesn’t matter with a PowerPoint presentation, but it does. If you wouldn’t walk out of a meeting by saying “well, that’s what I had to say!” then you shouldn’t end a presentation like that either. An abrupt end to a presentation can leave the group feeling underwhelmed and confused with how to proceed. If you are presenting a topic that will be fielding questions at the end, an abrupt end can make it difficult for the group to ask questions when the PowerPoint is completed. The final slide of a PowerPoint presentation should include a quick overview of what you spoke about, a call-to-action and a thank you for the group’s time. It can be short and sweet, but it should include these elements.