Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Preaching With PowerPoint

A lot of folks gripe about "death by PowerPoint" (often appropriately). However, I want to share a way I use PowerPoint as a focuing tool. As a "trivia collector" I have a tendency to go a bit heavy on data when I'm communicating. This can be a problem if I have a tight time frame within which to deliver a message (i.e. "You have 10 minutes - go."), or if I'm dealing with a senior audience with short attention spans.

I've often heard that the more senior the audience, the more value there is in small numbers and primary colors. PowerPoint is a great tool to help focus your message to a simpler level.

There is no "one way" to do this, but here is a technique that works for me:

  1. Pick 3 to 4 points you want your audience to remember.
  2. Create 1 slide for each major point.
  3. Create 3 bullet short, crisp points for each slide (yes, get it down to 3 - not 4 or 5).
  4. Practice using these slides as a sort of "teleprompter" to deliver your message and test the soundness of the message:

    • Does each point add real value to your message?
    • Is each point essential in achieving your communication objectives / desired outcome?
    • Do you have the fact to support each point, if questioned?
    • Is the order / flow correct?
    • etc.

  5. When you formally deliver your message, you can either have a "6 up" handout view of the slides as a guide, or print the Outline view.

I find this helps keep the message tight and on-point. Got other tips? Share away.

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