What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say Powerpoint? If you’re like most people, the very word makes your eyes glaze over. Then your chin drops toward your chest. Soon you’re making a sound cartoonists illustrate with z-z-z-z-z. Boring! It’s time for a change. Does that mean you should toss Powerpoint out the nearest window? Here’s a less-drastic solution . . .
People don’t attend your webinar for information. Well, that’s not exactly true. They want the information, but they could get it by reading a text document.
What they really want is you. They want a connection that’s more than just the printed word. To hear your tone of voice. To see your facial expressions and your smile. They want your unique way of presenting the information.
So give them more of you and less of Powerpoint.
We all listen well enough to absorb the gist of any message. And we read well enough to plow through textbooks (even about subjects we don’t love) to earn at least one diploma.
What’s confusing is trying to do both at the same time. We’re just not wired that way. There’s no built-in channel called listen/read.
And yet, how often we attend presentations where we’re expected to do exactly that: listen to the presenter’s explanation of wordy slides.
Presenters instinctively know we can’t read while we listen. So they resort to a worse solution: reading the slides to us — as if we’re schoolchildren at story time. How insulting!
The Kawasaki 10-20-30 Rules
Guy Kawasaki worked as chief evangelist at Apple for 4 years, helping bring the Macintosh to market. Lately he’s worked as a venture capitalist, where he listens to “pitches” from entrepreneurs looking for investment capital — pitches usually delivered as . . . boring Powerpoint presentations.
To save himself from the drudgery of these presentations, he created the 10-20-30 Presentation System. It teaches people to avoid 3 critical presentation mistakes.
10 Slides Rule
Imagine the rising panic viewers feel when you load your presentation and the first slide reads: slide 1 of 132. An endless slideshow can be dreadful.
Think of your slides as anchors — one slide for each major idea. Then talk about the idea, using the slide just to keep the audience anchored. When you limit yourself to 10 slides, it forces you to organize your material and weed out the unnecessary.
20 Minutes Rule
If you’re scheduled for a one-hour time slot, you spend 20 minutes at the beginning “fixing to get ready to start” and 20 minutes at the end for Q&A. So a 20-minute presentation fits perfectly.
And if you deliver a handful of useful ideas in less than an hour, you’ll be a hero to your audience.
30-Point Font Rule
Most slides have too many bullets and too much text: boring and unreadable. So ditch the bullet points. Instead, find a picture that encapsulates your idea. Add a word — maybe 2 or 3 — or a brief quotation. That may be enough to keep the audience (and you) on track.
For those of us with a lot of mileage on our eyeballs 😉 larger font is a blessing.
The thought of limiting your presentation to 10 slides may give you cold chills. If so, you may be addicted to slides.
Or maybe you need to boil your ideas down to the essentials.
And the thought of a slide with just an image and a word or two may cause you to break out in hives — another withdrawal symptom.
Or maybe you don’t know your material well enough.
Prepare to shine
These symptoms confirm that it’s time to kick your bad habits.
When you do, you make room for what your audience really wants — more YOU and less Powerpoint.