Do you know the 10 Commandments of PowerPoint?
If not, you should…
PowerPoint is an amazing presentation tool if used effectively. But with great power, you need to make a point to use it responsibly.
Most people abuse it.
In the words of Seth Godin, “If there was any other tool as widely misused in your organization, you’d ban it. The cost is enormous in lost opportunity and lost time.”
So, here are my 10 Commandments (and tips) for using PowerPoint:
1. YOU SHALL HAVE CREATED AN OUTLINE OF YOUR PRESENTATION BEFORE OPENING UP POWERPOINT
Tip: Go analog first to organize your presentation. Then use slides as an aid, not a crutch.
2. YOU SHALL MAKE GOOD USE OF THE PICTURE SUPERIORITY EFFECT
Tip: Dual coding (seeing and hearing) can increase recall by 550% over just single coding (hearing). Make sure you use strong hi-res images. Your images should cover the entire slide and be impactful.
3. YOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE DEFAULT FONT OR BE VAIN IN FONT SELECTION
Tip: PowerPoint usually defaults to Calibri. Stand out with a different font that’s readable. Just because you like a playful or wacky font, that doesn’t mean you should use it.
4. KEEP THE FONT SIZE TO A MINIMUM AND KNOW YOUR POWERPOINTS
Tip: As a rule of thumb, no FONTS smaller than 30 points. Place your text on one of the four power points.
5. HONOR YOUR LIGHT AND DARK CONTRAST
Tip: Lighter-color text on a dark backdrop pops the best.
6. YOU SHALL NOT STEAL THE COPYRIGHTED IMAGES OF OTHERS
Tip: There are plenty of places to get excellent free images. I’m a fan of Wikimedia, Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, and Gratisography.
7. YOU SHALL NOT WRITE FULL SENTENCES ON YOUR SLIDES
Tip: It’s a PowerPoint, not a slidument.
8. YOU SHALL NOT USE BULLETS
Tip: Bullets are dangerous. They can kill presentations. Dodge them if possible. If you absolutely need them, as in sharing a list, bring your bullets in one at a time.
9. YOU SHALL NOT READ FROM YOUR SLIDES
Tip: See Commandment #7. Your audience can’t listen and read at the same time. Plus, the audience reads up to 4 times faster than you can speak. Don’t insult them.
10. YOU SHALL NOT USE OVERUSE ANIMATIONS AND TRANSITIONS
Tip: Keep it simple. Click less, be present more.