Consulting Essentials - effective use of PowerPoint
PowerPoint slides can support a presentation in a variety of different ways, depending on the environment, audience size, intended impact and so on. It’s the consultants’ (and business’) preferred presentation support tool and so you need to know how to use it effectively and when.
Here are 5 tried and tested basic principles I use for developing PowerPoint slides to support stakeholder discussions - typically these meetings will involve no more than five people:
- Let the headlines of each slide tell the story you are trying to present - it’s like a story board for a film. The headlines should convey your key messages as sentences on one or two lines. Write the headlines first and avoid using title type headlines (one or two words).
- The headline for each slide should summarise the content of that slide – each slide should stand alone in its own right.
- Use a relevant mix of diagrams, charts and tables – vary the slide content to make it interesting.
- Use enough words on each slide so the message can be fully understood without your voiceover. This is important as the PowerPoint pack should be issued in advance of the meeting as a pre-read. Also the pack may be retained after the meeting for reference so it needs to clear and memorable. Remember this is a presentation to a small group, so it's OK to use a sufficient number of words.
- Don’t try to be clever or funny – it could backfire. You will need to judge this one, however, from the knowledge of your client.
Try this out with your client stakeholder presentations; why not review what you have done in the past and see whether you've adhered to these principles or not.