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3 Rules for More Productive Presentations

January 23 2012

Last night I watched the worst PowerPoint presentation I’ve ever seen. It reminded me of the presentations everyone made in 1999. You know the one: 75 different transitions, every slide has sound and different backgrounds, 14 different fonts, and so much more.

It was genuinely painful. Presentation software and tools are great, but you need to use them correctly. Here are our three rules for more productive presentations.

Only As Good As Your Preparation
You should always spend more time in personal preparation than you spend in software preparation. Tools like the iPadiPad, Keynote or PowerPoint should enhance your presentation, not be your presentations.

You are the real estate agent! I don’t care about your iPad’s reputation or knowledge; I care about your reputation and knowledgeyour reputation and knowledge. Your slides aren’t going to sell my house, and if they are, why am I paying you?

The strength of your presentation shouldn’t be the tools or software. With proper preparation my focus will always be on you, which is where it should be.

Less Is More

less is more

Really Bad PowerPointReally Bad PowerPoint is a report, of sorts, by Seth Godin. I lean heavily on his 4 recommendations for what should be on each slide (remember less is more):

  • No more than six (6) words on a slide. Ever.
  • No cheesy images. If your presentation has a single clip art image we can’t be friends.
  • No ridicules transitions. None.
  • Never use the sound effects that come with the software. If you must use sound effects, they better be high quality.

The last thing I’d add would be cut down on the number of slides. Do you really need 60 slides?

Where’s the Follow-Up
Rarely do you find yourself in the position, of giving a presentation, where follow-up isn’t necessary. Depending on the size of the audience it would be ideal for you to follow-up with everyone that attended.

When you communicate with them expect to cover these topics:

  1. Answer any questions
  2. What the very next move needs to be
  3. What, if any, actions need to be taken in the next week

We all know that follow-up is a crucial part of our business. However, it still surprises me how many people forget to follow-up after they’ve given a presentation. Don’t expect everyone to reach out to you.

If something is worth getting two (or a hundred) people in a room, its worth getting right. Take some time, and hone your presentation skills to be more productive and efficient.

Are there any rules you’d add to the list?

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