You've probably heard many experts speak poorly of PowerPoint. They're only partially right. PowerPoint can't create the presentation for you. You still have to do your part. The first step to a great presentation means throwing away PowerPoint's templates.
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The problem with Microsoft PowerPoint isn't the application itself. PowerPoint gives you a slate for creating your presentations. Its templates also offer you ideas as a starting point, but don't let them guide you in creating your presentation.
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How to Create Good to Great PowerPoints
A good presentation limits text usage and lends a hand to the speaker. But too many people use the presentation as a script. If your goal is to put people to sleep, then this you have a good chance of doing that relying on this method. Great presentations use minimal text, contain lots of visuals and pictures and tell a story. They also keep the audience's needs in mind so they walk away with the information they expect to receive.
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Steps for Taking Presentations from Good to Great with PowerPoint
Figure out what your audience needs (What's in it for me? -- Them, not you).
Brainstorm your topic for story ideas.
Pick three key points you want to make.
Draft notes and pictures.
Create five slides: opening, one for each key point and closing.
Kill bullets by loading blank design pages.
Add more slides as needed -- note that's "needed" not "wanted."
Practice the presentation while paying attention to gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice.
Go get 'em!
The presenter needs to be the star of the presentation, not the slides. The presentation helps the audience with cues by communicating the speaker's latest point in as few words as possible. Again, remember PowerPoint is a tool that will do anything you want. Take charge -- don't let PowerPoint's templates be the boss of your presentation.
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Resources to Lift Your Presentation from Good to Great in PowerPoint