Nicholas Graf

Nicholas Graf
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PowerPoint is a powerful tool that can enhance your presentation or kill it. No matter how great your slide deck is, you will fall flat with your audience unless you understand that YOU are the presentation.

Many websites offer modern tips, tricks and best practices for creating beautiful  PowerPoint presentations. The most common suggestions are:
  • Know the slide size of the venue/projector.
  • Don't use paragraphs or bullet points.
  • Use large text and put it on top.
  • Deliver one message per slide.
  • Only show what is necessary to deliver that message.
  • Use dark backgrounds.
  • Communicate where you are in the presentation with a road map or slide numbers.
  • Choose a style (fonts, colors and images) that suits you and your presentation.
  • Use visual effects to focus the audience's attention on specific details.
  • Use no more than 6 objects on each slide.
  • Fade to black when telling a story.

When I read the last point about story telling, I changed my interest from how well presentations are designed to how well presentations are delivered. 
There is a great TED Talk by David JP Phillips - "How to avoid death By PowerPoint" (link below). It has some great info about how the audience member's brain works when experiencing your presentation.
At one point David explains that using a dark background helps the viewer focus on you as the presenter. Then he says something simple and profound...
"I am, I always have been and I always will be the presentation. That (the PowerPoint) is my visual aid".
YOU are the presentation and the PowerPoint is merely your visual aid. Your audience's experience will be much richer and your message will be more powerful if you focus on the connection with your audience instead of the design of your slides.
I do suggest implementing the best practices above to design beautiful slides but I also encouraging you to spend time preparing your presentation, practicing your delivery and using the PowerPoint as intended; as your visual aid and not the other way around.

"How to avoid death By PowerPoint" -  by David JP Phillips

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