07 Oct 2017 17:26 IST

Making effective presentations

There are just three parts to using PowerPoint — content, slides and their presentation

PowerPoint is the mainstay of corporate life and obviously are an integral part of any management programme. Those pursuing management education regularly use PowerPoint to make presentations.

Ironically, most students never really get around to learning about preparing and presenting. The various demonstrations I have seen across institutes, is a testimony to this fact.

There are actually just three parts to any presentation:

Part 1 — The content. This is the first, most important part.

Part 2 — Slides and their formatting. .

Part 3 — Presenting: The third part that is as important as part 1.

In this article, I will focus on part 1 or the content.

Make it original

Simply put, the content should be original, interesting and meaningful. It should ideally showcase your thoughts and perspectives, and although the inclusion of some reference in terms of context setting is fine, the content should never be a copy-paste job. Imagine if you picked up a book and realised that it is a copy of several other books. Or if you went to a movie and realised that it is a mix of several other films. Would you want to watch or read such a creation?

I am sure your answer would be no. So then why would anyone sit through your content if it isn’t an original? So, the first guiding principle for making your content interesting is to make it original.

Keep it interesting

The next guideline is to make the content interesting. This can be achieved only if you capture your perspective in the content.

Another way you can make your content interesting is by highlighting the ‘what’ and ‘why’. The ‘what’ and ‘why’ refers to the thought behind the points being presented. For example, during a sales review, if a person shows a spreadsheet with numbers, that content might be informative but definitely not interesting.

On the other hand, if the person, in addition to having the numbers, also had information on why the sales numbers are what they are and what influenced the same, the content will instantly become more interesting and meaningful.

The same principles apply when you present a group project during your management programme. When you plan your content, always think like the audience and ensure that the content is original, interesting and meaningful.

Coming up with content for any presentation requires lot of thought and planning. So plan your content, gather the details and facts required and then start preparing the slides. A common mistake many people make is to jump into preparing the slides straightaway. More often than not, this distracts them from powerful content.

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