Here’s the issue with slide design books and courses:
Unless your delivery is good, it’s like putting lipstick on a pig.
No amount of slide dressing will help a bad delivery.
PowerPoint is not the problem.
The foundation of your presentation is you. The presenter.
If your delivery sucks. Your presentation will suck. Good slides or bad.
Unless you deliver your presentation well, no amount of slide improvement can help you. In fact, it could actually hurt.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s good to use nice slides.
But, if you think that the slides are going to make your presentation a success you need to think again.
Improving the slides will only help your presentation if you can deliver it well.
Without the fundamentals your presentation is doomed.
Here are the points you need to work on before you even consider your slides:
When you consider body language in a presentation, think about your body language in conversation.
In conversation, you maintain a relaxed and open body position. You also gesture naturally as you speak. The gestures help you describe what you are talking about.
Importantly, you don’t practice your body position and you don’t practice your gestures.
When you are presenting you should do the same. Don’t practice how to stand or how to gesture.
Just know your topic well and talk. If you know your topic well, your body language will appear naturally relaxed and your gestures will naturally assist you to explain.
If you want the audience’s trust you must make eye contact.
Look down all the time and your credibility nosedives.
The good news is eye contact is surprisingly easy. It’s easy because you don’t have to “lock-on” to anyone in particular. Simply glance around the round the room at people’s faces as you speak.
A regular glance at each person is enough.
Three simple rules:
- Avoid looking down
- Avoid looking at the screen behind you
- Avoid looking over people’s heads.
If you want your audience to stick with you throughout the entire presentation you need to catch them early.
Engage them early by telling a story related to your topic.
Hook them throughout by asking questions.
Keep their attention by varying your tone, turning off your slides, and doing something unexpected.
Remember: Slides are important. But they are meaningless if your delivery sucks.