A lot of people use powerpoint presentations as big speech notecards, with each of their key points on screen to keep them on track. But recently I saw a great example of powerpoint being used to great impact. Here’s a few examples of great slides I’ve seen:
1) Illustrative image. In this case a map with a highlighted route that the speaker was talking about driving down. This still kept the presenter aware of what he should be talking about, but also gave a strong graphic representation for those who had no idea of the highway he was talking about.
2) Amusing image. You see this a lot on places like the Jon Stewart show. Where the person is speaking deadpan about a subject and clicks over to a slide with an image or commentary that creates a massive punch line. For instance “Our country is a distinguished culture with grace, nobility and dignity.” could be punch lined with an image of rednecks in a trailer park or a frat party.
3) A deep philosophical quote. Put it up there, then talk about it, what’s important about it, something about the man or woman behind the quote and what brought it about and why this quote is important to the audience.
4) A though-provoking question. When “What do you want in the next 5 years?” is the only big bold sentence on the entire black slide, it almost forces the eye and the mind to ponder it. I recently saw a great use of this, but I was disappointed that the speaker didn’t pause and ask people to write down their answer to the question. This is a great chance for some audience participation.
5) Embedded example video clip. A speaker (talking about speaking) embedded a clip of a speech example that illustrated a technique he was explaining. Having a feed that was a live example of how to handle the crowd was an excellent way of demonstrating and driving the point home.
Bad slide shows include: lots of moving graphics or transitions, 2 or more sentences or *shudder* bullet points, tons of graphics on a single slide. Remember a powerpoint slideshow shouldn’t be your presentation. Your presentation should be only ENHANCED by using a powerpoint slideshow.
A good rule of thumb: Ask yourself: “If my projector failed on me today, could I still give an effective presentation?”