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Gifts of Ideas
Meiss Education Institute

13 Ideas to use Power Point more Effectivley
By Rich Meiss

A Baker’s Dozen Ideas to Put the Point Back Into Power Point:
13 Ideas to use Power Point more Effectively

13. Design with the audience in mind. It is OK to create a lot of slides to help you put together a logical presentation, but then ask yourself: “What does the audience need to see of this presentation?” Typically, you can eliminate half the words and half the number of slides the audience needs to see for maximum presentation impact.

12. Use it sparingly, not exclusively. We suggest a good presentation will use Power Point about 50% of the time or less. And if your goal is training (helping participants build new knowledge, skills or attitudes), use it about 25% of the time or less.

11. Use the “hidden slide” feature. A good way to accomplish number 12 is to create as many slides as you need for preparing your presentation, and then go back and hide the slides that the audience doesn’t need to see. When you are in slide show mode, these slides will not then be shown.

10. Use the “B” key. When you are showing slides and the presentation takes a sudden turn to a different topic, or when someone asks a question unrelated to the slide currently showing, just hit the “B” key on the keyboard. This will bring up a black screen. Answer the question or have the discussion, and then hit any key to bring the slide back. This is a function built into Power Point. The key idea here is to never have anything on the screen that would compete with or negate the idea currently being discussed. 

9. Use a minimum of 24 point type size. Make sure the screen will be readable to those in the room. This means at least doubling typical typewritten point size of 12.

8. Include a graphic on most slides. What picture, icon or graphic would add meaning to the slide? There are multiple sources of pictures available to adorn a slide today – from digital photography to clip art.

7. Use the 6 x 6 guideline. There should never be more than six lines of type and six words per line on any one slide. This Microsoft guideline has been widely taught for years. Actually, I am in favor of fewer words than that. Ask yourself what key words would communicate the main message of the slide – you, the presenter, should fill in the missing thoughts without having them printed on the slide.

6. Use the special effects sparingly. While it is fun to create wipes, fades, dissolves and sounds, it is unnecessary if it detracts from the presentation. Always ask yourself: “Is this adding to my audience’s experience of the presentation, or distracting from it?”

5. Communicate a single idea per page. Although it is tempting to put more on a slide than less, each slide should only communicate one main idea.

4. Chunk your content by adding blank, black screens. As you put your slide show together, build in blank, black slides after each major content piece. If your presentation has three main points, for example, show your slides of your first main point with supporting information, and then build in a blank slide. This gives the eyes of audience members a rest occasionally, and it signals to the presenter that you are transitioning to your next main point.

3. Use a maximum of two fonts and two type sizes. While it is good to have some variety, be careful to avoid too many different font types and sizes. And make sure to use the fonts that are most readable, such as Ariel, Times New Roman and Helvetica.

2. Don’t print your slide deck as your handout. This suggestion will be heretical in some organizational cultures, as participants EXPECT that you will hand out your slide deck, printed three up or six up. If you absolutely need to do this, consider these two things: 
a) Always print only three-up slides per page, as this will make the print more readable, and
b) Add some blank lines in the slides so participants have to fill in the blanks as they listen to and watch your presentation. The printed slide deck will then have some blank lines instead of all the words that the audience may choose to add in during the presentation. This keeps focused attention and enhances the learning and impact of the presentation.

1. Always have a backup plan. How many of us have seen a presenter lose his/her Power Point slides (electricity went off, computer went down, etc.), and as a result they couldn’t deliver their presentation? If a flip chart is available, or if the presenter has a handout that can be filled in, this embarrassing situation can be presented. Remember, you are the message – your Power Point slide show just supports the message.
By incorporating these tips, you will distinguish yourself as a master presenter in the use of Power Point. Make the tool work for you, not against you! 

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