If you work in a corporate environment, odds are you’ll need to pull together a PowerPoint and deliver a presentation at some point in your career. If you plan to go into management, communicating to groups with help from PowerPoint slides will become a routine part of your work responsibilities. Whether you like it or not, Microsoft PowerPoint has become the go to communication platform for the workplace.
The funny thing is that even though employees use PowerPoint regularly as part of their job, they don’t really understand how to optimize their presentations to provide maximum the impact. Other times people will use the tool incorrectly, which can make you appear unprofessional and hurt your chances of being promoted.
Why is this Information Important to Me?
People don’t always understand the side benefits that can come as part of improving as a speaker with PowerPoint. Here are a few specific ways improving your presentations can help your career:
Upward Mobility: Individuals with strong communication skills, including the ability to speak clearly in meetings and large groups is a key characteristic of employees that get promoted and move up to management positions. If you’d like to move up and participate in more interesting career roles this is a skill that’s essential.
More Money: One of the additional factors of getting promoted is that you typically receive a higher compensation as well. For many employees this is one of the best parts of climbing the corporate ladder.
Save Time: Finally, if you’re going to be delivering a lot of presentations using PowerPoint anyway, you might as well get good at using the piece of software. Implementing some of the recommendations in this article will help you become stronger with this tool and allow you to create slides faster over time.
Simple Steps To Improve Each Presentation
Too Much Information on Each Slide: One mistake a lot of employees make is that they try to fit too much information on each slide. Some common mistakes include writing out paragraphs of information and inserting multiple images on each slide. This can be information overload for folks in the audience that are listening to your presentation.
Remember, that each PowerPoint slide is intended as a tool to help you get a message across. Keep your slides short rather than long and hard to read. Some basic rules of thumb for putting together a slide:
- Don’t add more than 7 bullet points per slide. When you get over 7 bullet points it can be difficult for people located in the back of the room to read your key points.
- Don’t add more than 7 words bullet. Bullet points should simply jog your memory about the point you want to make. The entire message does not need to be written out. You should be able to speak to each point and add anecdotes.
- Typically, you only want to have one image per PowerPoint slide. Only add an image if it helps you tell a story.
Using Sounds: Although it may be fun to add music or attention grabbing sound effects within PowerPoint, it’s not typically recommended. If you add sound affects there are a lot of factors that you’ve got to keep track of before you give a presentation like: Will there be a sound system or speakers available in the room I give my presentation? Will the sound be the correct volume so that everyone can here? Hopefully the sound won’t be too loud so that it scares your audience.
Unless you do a lot of planning ahead of time, be careful about using sounds or video in your presentation.
Preparation: Finally, remember to come prepared before beginning your PowerPoint presentation in front of a live audience. If you’re going to present in a room that you’ve never been to before, make sure to scope out the technical capacity of the room like electrical sockets, telephone (if you’ll be doing a conference call), lighting, and overhead projector. You don’t want to leave any of these things to chance before delivering a professional presentation.