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I’ve heard it said that we can only take three things away from a presentation. Maybe that also applies to readers of blogs, so to test the above theory, this post will only have three points for you to retain.


Powerpoint Presentation


Here are my three PowerPoint Don’ts to ensure you won’t put your audiences to sleep!

1. Don’t write only words

PowerPoint was designed for visuals – images, charts, drawings – so make sure you include lots in your presentation. Statistics can be converted into charts or supported by images – much better than a table full of figures. Photos of your project, your team and your company convey so much more to your audience than words on a slide.

For inspiration on making really great presentations, we love SlideShare’s Slides That Rock.

2. Don’t write too many words

Don’t be tempted to ‘write’ your speech into your PowerPoint presentation. First write an outline, next pad it out, then build your visual presentation around it. Use keywords as triggers to remind you of the point you wish to share. Let your PowerPoint be a support – don’t use it as a crutch!

3. Don’t write the whole story

If you have a lot of data to share, give a handout after your talk (not before, or your audience will spend the entire talk flicking noisily through your handout, when you really want them to be listening to your three points). You don’t need to tell the whole story or share all your research in your presentation. Strip it done to the bare bones and put those in your PowerPoint.

How to prepare for your presentation

Ask yourself this question:

Could you give your talk without your PowerPoint presentation?

The answer should be ‘yes’. You should have a clear outline of your talk in your head, distilled down to a few key words. Each word should trigger a point that you should be able to expand on naturally, in your own words.

You’re now ready to make your presentation. Go shake up your audience and let me know how you get on.

Download our Guidelines on Preparing a PowerPoint Presentation

PS. Before people start commenting below about the plural of don’t – which is don’ts – please note that apostrophes should never be used for plurals. Just to be sure, I checked Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries and they both list: dos and don’ts.

About the Author: Founder and CEO of English Trackers, Bridget Rooth sometimes moonlights as a conference interpreter. Her dream come true would be for all conference speakers to read this post and apply these three rules to their presentations!

Give me more!

Looking for inspiration before you write your speech or presentation? We’ve lined up the Top Ten Speeches of all time just for you – time to learn from the greats.

Conference calling can be a real stress for non-native English speakers. Learn how to make the process as easy as possible with this guide.

Photo credit: Kris Krug via photopin cc