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Today you have made your mind to impress sophisticated audience giving a knockout presentation. You have spent the night drafting cute wording and selecting your best slides. Now take your time and think: is your presentation really intended for your listeners or it’s just a set of slides? We often use PowerPoint to inform, to persuade, sometimes to provoke. But there can be no better way to absolutely lose the support of your audience than to irritate them. So, how to avoid such a mistake? Let’s ask ourselves a simple question: what drives us nuts when we watch someone giving a presentation?

Slides are effective when used to present graphical information, but useless to convey passion and enthusiasm for your issue.Its highly annoying if you put everything on slides and start reading from them with your back to the audience. We conclude: remember that YOU are a presenter and only use PowerPoint as your faithful assistance.

Failed to be on time to begin? There is a very good reason why the public isn’t favorably disposed towards a presenter who has kept them waiting.  If people are in time to hear you, they expect you to show respect by starting on time. If the audience feels that you respect them, then there is a significantly lower chance that they in turn, will do anything to provoke you! We conclude: don’t make people feel as if they have been wasting their day. They don’t appreciate this!

PowerPoint allows time management, so that you can get through your presentation within the fixed period of time. Don’t abuse the audience patience even though they seem involved into your presentation. Keep to the subject when answering questions and, in any case, don’t turn your answer into a lengthy dialogue with one of the listeners. We conclude: keep your presentation within the time limit.

Although your knowledge of the subject comes first, do not get carried away with complex terms on your slides, confusing the listeners with “you definitely know that…”followed by some unintelligible term or rarely used acronym. Chances are good that the rest of the audience has never heard or used it before. We conclude: complex terminology is only good for your presentation if provided with friendly brief explanations.

Any chance that the slides are readable from the back row? If not, the public can always do crosswords or take a nap. But someone really persevering will sure get irritated with such a discomfort. We conclude: checkup the font size for comfortable reading from the back. Try 24pt or even better 30pt for your PowerPoint slides. And it’s not the news that the high contrast between the two colors makes it easy to read the printed word.

Have you checked up the slides for grammar or spelling mistakes? Poorly designed slides, neglected literacy; what else can be done to spoil the impression? Here’s a hint. When a presenter doesn’t bother to have these basics correct, no one will bother of the things he is trying to communicate. We conclude: double check all text on your slide before presenting.

Another weapon of mass destruction is animations and sounds used in abundance in your presentation.  Playing with special effects we often forget that they become serious destructors and irritators for public eyes and ears and take chances to lose the game. We conclude: all the special tools work when used sparingly and appropriately.

There are a few remarkable lines from the 19-th century poem by Robert Browning:

Who strive – you don’t know how the others strive

To paint a little thing like that you smeared

Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-

Yet do much less, so much less, someone says,

(I know his name, no matter) – so much less!

Well, less is more…

We conclude: less is more. Simplicity and clarity lead to a good design of your presentation.

Now let’s admit it:  giving presentations is a critical skill. You cannot only rely on what-to do list and Microsoft’s PowerPoint special features. Let common sense flavored with positive emotions control your presentation and keep the audience on your side.

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