Providing powerpoint presentations related to a project, your company profile, or your area of expertise has become commonplace these days.
Considering the importance of presentations and having done quite a few of them I would like to share some tips on how to go ahead with powerpoint presentations. The tips start with right from preparing the presentation to actually presenting it to an audience on a screen using a projection device.
1. Most technical presentations should be for a duration of a minimum of 45 minutes to 1 hour which would require a minimum of 20 to 25 slides. 30 to 35 slides are more the norm for a 1 hour presentation with an extra 15-20 minutes for interaction with the audience.
2. While preparing a presentation the following should be paid attention to:
a. Presentations should have a liberal content of illustrations and figures. The adage is "Pictures speak louder than words".
b. Use of various colors enhances the quality of the presentation. However, a technical presentation should not look like a page out of a comic book or an advertising leaflet. What that means is use colors judiciously and don't make it a hash of colors.
c. Use bullet points for short statements instead of providing lengthy paragraphs which the audience might find boring or uninteresting.
d. It is always a good practice to provide a slide with references for the books, articles and journals you have used to prepare the presentation.
e. Take care of the margins, font size and the font color for a slide. Aesthetics do play a role in enhancing the quality of the presentation.
f. Do not forget to provide a title to each slide. This helps the audience to identify and track the sequence of the presentation.
g. The last slide could be a "Thank you for your presence and valuable time". Expressing your gratitude to the audience for being present ends the presentation on a high note.
2. Coming to the actual presentation the following should be addressed:
a. Check the ambience of the room where the presentation is to be held. You don't want a sweaty, itchy or a shivering audience being distracted by the air conditioning of the room.
b. Check out the visibilityy and clarity of the screen from the furthest seating point of the presentation room. You don't want a protester from the backside complaining about the presentation not being visible.
c. Use a laser light to highlight a point on the slide. This helps in emphasizing a point on the slide.
d. Turning your back to the audience and continuing looking at the screen should be avoided. Maintain as much eye contact with the audience as possible. This ensures the interest and attention of the audience participating.
e. A break maybe in order during a lengthy presentation to refresh yourself and the audience. Tired people are not going to enjoy the presentation.
f. An interactive question answer session during the presentation should always be practiced. This sustains the interst and excitement of the audience and the continued participation of the audience. You may have the question answer session during the course of the presentation or at the end depending upon the subject being presented, the audience response and the flow and continuity of the presentation.
g. Do not get embroiled in an argument with the audience. If there is a question which is remaining unanswered keep it for discussion at the end of the presentation. In case you don't know the answer of the question put up to you, tell the person who has raised the question that you will revert back with the answer at a later time. However, don't forget to keep your promise of reverting back at a later time.
h. Last but not the least, express a big 'Thank You' to the audience at the end of the presentation. After all they set aside their valubale time to attend your presentation.
A lot of the tips provided above are based on experience of conducting a few presentations by me. But then there is always room for improvement and I would love to hear from people who are probably more well versed than me in giving public presentations. Let me have comments from the esteemed readers and members of the forum.