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tips to make better presentations

Presentation Doís and Doníts

PowerPoint presentations have a mixed reputation.  Some swear by them, others swear at them! Most of us arenít professional speakers and there is more than a little nervousness that most people feel when standing up in front of an audience.  But studies tell us that good presenters get more promotions, raises and bonuses. Itís so important that companies spend millions of dollars training their employees to be great public speakers.
Well if you donít have the budget or time for professional training, we have a few tips - easy ways to improve your performance.

Talk to me!
Believe it or not, Iíve actually been in presentations where I never even saw the presenter until the lights were turned on at the end. I can assure you that not much communication was going on between us.

Donít read to me!
If you donít have anything to say that isnít included on your PowerPoint slides either you have too much information on your slides or you donít need to show up...just call it in!  Slides are helpful to illustrate your points, for emphasis or to keep a complex subject manageable.  They are also a great way to keep you on track when you are speaking...but donít look at them too much - look at me!

Donít keep me in the dark!
It isnít necessary to keep the lights off during your entire presentation. In fact, youíll help me focus on you (and stay awake) if you turn on the lights while discussing topics not fully dependent on your slides.

Get some specifics about using fonts and selecting colors for your presentations.

Make it Legible
Make it easy to read your presentation.  The text should be large enough to easily read at the distance it will be from me (probably 20pt+).  No flashing text, multi colored text, or too many animations.  And please make sure that you choose a text color with a lot of contrast from your background color. By the way, a sans-serif font is easier to read.

Simplicity, Please
Donít try to make more than 3 points on a slide. Ask me if Iím with you before you move on. Encourage me to ask questions and give you feedback. When you start a conversation, youíre likely to forget to be nervous.

Practice using these ideas and watch your presentations improve!

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