We often think that we have got to have a PowerPoint (PPT) for our speech to appear more professional. I am not saying that a PowerPoint is not good but it does not necessarily improve your professionalism. A PowerPoint can be a great tool if you know how to use it but can be a real disadvantage if you do not know how to use it.  

The 10th commandments of a PowerPoint

  1. Do not use a PowerPoint unless you are absolutely sure you know how to use the software. Have you used it before? Are you comfortable with the tool?
  2. A PowerPoint is an advantage only if you know how to use it
    You do not want to have a messy PPT; instead of getting people’s attention you will completely lose them.
    If you are not comfortable with the tool, people will feel it during your speech
    Think about purchasing a remote; it will prevent you from hiding behind the computer. You will feel freer to perform.
  3. Have a clear outline
    1. Introduction
    2. Titles are your main points (they follow your presentation outline)
    3. Conclusion
  4. Do not write down all your presentation on your slides
    1. Just write down keywords
    2. The PowerPoint is not here to remind you of what you have to say. It is a visual aid for the audience.
    3. You have your notes for that (either in paper version or under the PPT in the comments section)
    4. There is nothing worse than a slide with too much information written on it. If you have several arguments under the same title use different slide and write for example [Title (………)]
  5. Do not use too much animation
    1. Some are fun to use but if you use too much, people in the audience might throw up
    2. Regarding the context of your presentation, use little or no animation; being original is not always appropriate. If you want to be original choose another font than Times New Roman (make sure it is readable)
  6. Choose a font that matches the context of your presentation but just make sure it’s readable from far away.
  7. To avoid having a boring PPT you can add images. Yet, make sure they are relevant to what you are talking about. If not, the audience will spend their entire time wondering the purpose of the image rather than actually listening to you. The main goal of a picture is to have an impact on the audience so that when they think about the image, they remember your arguments.
  8. If you need to use any graphs, make sure to remain simple and show only the relevant information.
  9. Do not create too many slides: 10 slides for a 20 minutes presentation is enough.
  10. This one is probably the most important: run a spell check! With a font size of 25 or 30, your little spelling mistake will no longer be little. And it will affect your credibility.