Advice on PowerPoint Presentations - Delivery

By: Cogent Design Group  09-12-2011

1. Show your passion

You should be passionate about your subject. A confident professional delivery that connects with your audience will be as memorable to them as the content of the presentation.

2. First impressions count

Your audience wants to like you, so be sure to engage them right from the start as your opening will set the tone for the rest of your presentation. Start strongly and avoid beginning your talk with an over-long introduction of yourself and your professional history as this may bore them.

3. Keep it short

An audience that is sitting and listening to you can only absorb a limited amount of information so keep your presentation brief and finish early. It is better to have your audience left wanting to discuss your presentation with you afterwards than to have them looking at their watches.

4. Use movement to clarify messages and break down barriers

Using movement will keep your audience's focus on you and help clarify your message. E.g. if you are comparing two options, stand in one place for option 1 and the move to another place to explain option 2. Build rapport by moving away from the podium to remove the physical barrier.

5. Use a remote-control slide changer and a radio mic

Use a remote control slide changer to allow you to move naturally during your presentation and stop you being anchored to your lap top.

If you are quietly spoken like me then you might need a radio mic and some voice amplification if the group is over 20 strong. Everyone needs amplification in large venues or rooms with poor acoustics. Sort out any feedback or howling problems in advance. ( Jimi -ignor this last point)

6. Refocus attention - Go to a black screen

Pressing the "B" key in PowerPoint will display a black screen. This is a useful method of focusing your audience's attention back to you between topics or sections. When you are ready to move on, just press the “B” key again and the image reappears. Our preferred method is to insert a black slide into the presentation at a suitable spot so you don’t forget.

7. Make eye contact

Making good eye contact with individuals in the audience builds rapport and helps you judge how things are going. Don’t forget to smile and never turn your back on the audience to look at the screen. If you need to check your slides glance at your laptop.

8. Keep the lights on

It is vital that your audience can see you so don’t be tempted to turn off the lights during your presentation for the benefit of your slides. Design slides that can be easily read in ambient light and lower the lighting slightly if needs be.

9. Use a TV for small groups

An alternative to using a projector, especially when presenting to smaller groups, is to connect your laptop to a large flat screen TV or computer monitor. Monitors will allow you to display bright images in high quality. If you use a monitor make sure the text is not too small.

10.Be polite and professional at all times

This may seem obvious but always respond positively and professionally to your audience's questions e.g. say “That’s an interesting question”. If someone is asking difficult or awkward questions maintain the high ground. Prepare for possible questions in advance and if you don’t know the answer ask if you can get back to them with further details. This will allow you to maintain contact with them after the presentation.

Cogent used stills from a forthcoming UKTV series to create a branded feel for the series launch event.

Complex technical issues can be more easily understood using diagrams. Notice the lack of bullet points, the speaker does not need them.

This simple animated diagram worked well in a training presentation.

This slide background carried over the branding from Motorola's “Shaping the Future” event into their presentation material - all branding and production was handled by Cogent.

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