Most presenters, when asked to create a presentation, begin by opening PowerPoint program on their computer. There are 3 clear reasons why you shouldn’t do so. Here are the reasons:
1. Ideating for a presentation using PowerPoint is like painting a large canvas using microscope
When you want to paint a large canvas, you don’t start by dabbing your paint on the canvas right away. You first draw a thumb nail sketch of the image on a small piece of paper using a pencil. You try to get a clear idea of how you would want to utilize the space on the canvas to convey your thoughts. You won’t go near the easel till you can fully visualize your ‘Big picture’.
The process is no different when you want to create a business presentation. You get your big picture right, before you even get near your computer.
PowerPoint allows you to see your presentation one slide at a time. It forces you to think linear instead of the natural, lateral way. So, ideating for your presentation using PowerPoint is like painting a canvas through a microscope. Result:
- Even though your individual slides may look good, they don’t connect well into a powerful story
- Your audience may recollect some of your ‘brilliant’ slides. But, they may not remember your overall message
Related: When to Use PowerPoint?
2. PowerPoint tempts you to follow ‘Gather and Crop’ method to create your presentation
When you prepare for your presentation using PowerPoint, you usually start by gathering slides related to your topic from various sources.
You include slides from your previous presentations. You include ‘related slides’ from presentations made by your colleagues from other departments. You may even include slides from different presentations available on the internet (even if they are only remotely connected to your topic).
When you want to crop this slide dump to fit the time available for your presentation, you struggle. Every slide feels like it is essential to be included in your presentation. So, you settle for a bloated, heavy and uncoordinated slide deck.
Your thoughts in the presentation are no longer original, but are a mish-mash of the various presentations that have been made before. Your slide deck begins to resemble this weird creature:
Naturally, your audience switches off and your message is lost.
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3. You waste time polishing the looks when you should be spending time strengthening your content
When you begin your preparation with PowerPoint, you get distracted with issues related to the look and feel of your slides rather than the strength of your content.
You start worrying about trivial issues like background color and font types instead of the flow and structure of your presentation. You end up taking far more time to create your presentation than what is necessary.
There is a simple alternative to make effective presentations fast.
Pull out a piece of paper and pencil and start brainstorming ideas for your presentation. Decide on your ‘core message’ first and start fleshing the details around the core. Sketch a few visuals that convey your ideas visually. Only then you start putting together your slides.
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