Handling Slides with Bullet Points


Your manager asks you to give a company presentation at a forthcoming event and very kindly provides you with a set of PowerPoint slides for the presentation.

The only problem is the slides are rather “old school”. Lots of bullet points but not much by the way of graphics which would conjure up strong mental images, in the minds of your audience.

While having so many bullet points makes it easier to remember what it is you should be saying, the problem is that if you bring up a slide with lots of text the first thing your audience will do is read the slide. This means that anything you say is effectively “old news”. They have just read about it.

You have three options:

  1. Give the presentation as is and bore your audience by effectively reading what it says of the slides.
  2. Re-write the whole presentation replacing the bullet point text with appropriate images and graphics. Great if you have the time.
  3. Copy the text into the speaker notes, set the animation to display one point at a time. Then when you give the presentation only display each bullet point after you have talked about it.

This has the effect of the slide endorsing what you have just said, rather than pre-announcing what you are going to say.

Why did I say “Copy the text into the speaker notes”? Well even for a topic with which you are very familiar it is very difficult to remember exactly what is on the next bullet point. So by copying the text into the speaker notes you can use the “Presenter View” facility in PowerPoint, which enables you to see the speaker notes on your laptop while your audience only sees the slide. You can then use the bullet points as your speaker notes and always ensure you make the visual aids back up what you have just said.

Remember the presenter should lead the presentation backed up by some good visual aids. By relying on your slides to remind you what to say, the slides are now leading the presentation backed up by the presenter. As a general rule you should keep your speaker notes separate from your visual aids.

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