Dixie Darr

In Uncategorized on November 8, 2006 at 12:06 pm

Talking Points Part II

I worked with my crazy friend, Kathy the other morning, designing a two-day workshop on presentations. Apparently, corporations need their managers and executives to improve their speaking skills. The seminar company Kathy works for can’t find enough trainers to keep up with the demand.

Probably my biggest pet peeve is that people use PowerPoint as the presentation. PowerPoint is a terrific program, but it is NOT the presentation. It is an audio-visual aid to reinforce and enhance the spoken word. If you put your entire speech on the slides, we don’t need you. Just email the slide show to your colleagues and save everybody some time.

In his popular blog, How to Change the World, author and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki recommends using the 10/20/30 rule. That is, no more than 10 slides for a 20-minute presentation using a 30-point font. That sounds like a good guideline to me.

Remember that PowerPoint is best at presenting images—photos or graphics that illustrate your key points—not words. Putting the same words on the slide that you are saying might seem to provide a visual reinforcement, but the truth is that people can’t read the words and listen to them at the same time. They do one or the other.

Back to Kathy, who has been speaking professionally for thirty years. Her cardinal rule for speaking is “Don’t compete with yourself.” Don’t give people handouts or show slides that compete with what you are saying. When you’re giving a presentation the focus should be on YOU and what you are saying.

©2006 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved


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