Basics of Public Speaking
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Lesson 15 - The Weakness of Power Point Presentations

I don't think we should use the name "Power Point". I think we should call it "Weak Point". The reason I believe this is because depending on technology to communicate to an audience often makes a good presentation very weak. As we saw in Lesson 14 on Visual Aids, a prop can easily be a distraction to your listeners. Power Point presentations are dangerous because they can be a BIGGER distraction than ordinary visual aids.

Problem Number 1: You may lose sight of the audience. One of my students watched the screen so much during a presentation that he didn't notice his boss had fallen asleep until he was finished speaking!

Problem Number 2: Power Point slides contain so many words that the audience cannot follow the message. Putting too much information on each slide is probably the most common problem related to PPTs.

Problem Number 3: The size of the text is too small. If the audience has to work hard to read the text, they will spend less effort on trying to understand your ideas.

Problem Number 4: The audience depends on the PPT so much that they ignore YOU! Sometimes, at the end of a presentation, the audience has learned so much from the Power Point that they wonder why they even needed the speaker!

Problem Number 5: The speaker depends on PPT too much. For example, if there is no electricity, what will you do? This a ctually happened to a friend of mine. He was in a company's meeting room, ready to give a Power Point presentation when the electricity went out. Since he never depends on his Power Point slides he was still able to communicate his message to the audience. Always be sure you can do that too.

Here are some simple solutions to the above problems:

    Solution 1: Never depend on PPT!
    Solution 2: Have only one main point per slide.
    Solution 3: Make the font and pictures large enough so everyone can see them.
    Solution 4: Only include information or graphics that help you communicate. Most of the communication should be from YOUR voice.
    Solution 5: Face your audience at all times.
    Solution 6: Follow all of the basic presentation skills from previous lessons - organize well, have a strong opening, have a memorable conclusion, provide good, specific examples.
Remember, everyone uses Power Point. How powerful is it, really, to just copy everyone else? If you want to use Power Point, be sure to use it as a tool to help you. Never get caught in the trap of letting Power Point replace your own professional presentation.

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