In the last few years since I’ve been designing PowerPoint templates and presentations a common theme seems to repeat itself. The potential client calls or emails me and says “I have a presentation to put together but I can’t do PowerPoint.” And they say it in such as self-effacing way, as though they should apologize for not knowing the software. This seems to go with our attitude in today’s business world that we should be able to do everything. It’s not realistic.
It also makes me chuckle when I think of this scenario played out in other professions. You wouldn’t think to tell your doctor that you need a diagnosis because you’re not good at medical stuff. You also wouldn’t apologize to your plumber because you haven’t quite mastered the tools to fix a leaky faucet. If you’re determined to learn PowerPoint, I can tell you that it’s not hard. One resource I still refer to occasionally is a site called Lynda.com which has step-by-step tutorials in PowerPoint, as well as tons of other kinds of software. And there are search features on the site, so if you know the program fairly well, but run into a little snag, you can get help on specific features. You also need to realize that PowerPoint is just a tool. You can learn how to make all the bullet points red and all the headlines 36 point type, but the tricky stuff is making your presentation compelling, or as I like to say, “not look like PowerPoint.” That’s the thing that takes practice. What I would suggest for that is going online and looking at presentations other companies have done. If you see something that grabs your attention, you may be able to imitate certain aspects of it such as colors, types of graphics or imagery. It’s what I do constantly to expand my thinking and keep things fresh.