Cave painting offers clue to better presentations

A mere 32,000 years ago, man understood how to use PowerPoint. Cave drawings were our first form of communication. When our ancestors saw a picture of a Woolly Mammoth trampling a person, they knew what it meant.

Since then our brains have grown, we’ve created symbols, given them meaning, and discovered the ability to parse them at will… and our presentations have become ever-more confusing.

So here are five great tips on making powerful presentations:

1 – Before You Begin

Instead of asking ‘What needs to be communicated?’, ask ‘Why is it important in the eyes of my audience?’. The key to effective communication lies in discovering why something is important to your audience, not you. Always hitch your presentation to the audience’s ‘why’.

2 – Picture This

When a presenter says ‘Picture this’, everyone in the audience can easily see it. So why do we put all those words on our slides when they distract the audience while we speak? To hook people and keep their attention, use a big image and let it take up the entire slide. Use a single, short sentence to make your point.

3 – No Distractions

Don’t hand out copies of the presentation. If there is something that the audience needs in hardcopy, provide only that piece and nothing more. Tell the audience to jot notes based on the slide number and later …

4 – Give Them What They Need

Send out the slides after the fact. Your audience can now recall what you had to say, relate it to their notes by slide number, find your exposition in the speakers notes of the .PDF you sent them and …

5 – Connect With You

By emailing the notes you get to collect contact information and connect with your audience one-on-one. Now, as we say in integrated sales and marketing, you just started a conversation that will lead to a sale – thanks to smart thinking on your part and wise use of PowerPoint.