Butler County Times Gazette
  • The dreaded PowerPoint presentation

  • I am making an assumption we all, or several of us anyway, have set through at least one PowerPoint presentation or training that left us feeling overwhelmed with the content and data or bored out of our minds.
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  • I am making an assumption we all, or several of us anyway, have set through at least one PowerPoint presentation or training that left us feeling overwhelmed with the content and data or bored out of our minds.
    I always get a little “uh oh” feeling when I walk into a room set up in classroom style seating, facing the screen or wall with a projection. I have attended great PowerPoint presentations and I have attended some in which it took everything I had to stay engaged and attentive to the topic at hand.
    When a presenter goes through slide by slide, addressing each slide in detail, I lose my focus.
    Now, don’t get me wrong. I use PowerPoint for many of my own projects and will continue to use it. This program has come a long way and can be highly interactive if we take the time to utilize its many functions. I will say I rarely use it when I am facilitating group discussion.
    Whether I am familiar with members of the group or not, I must build a level of trust with the group and the members of the group among themselves. Using flip chart paper and colorful makers to capture ideas and thoughts gives a personal touch to the process and it shows the group that I am listening to what they are saying because I am documenting their words.
    If the statement is too long, I will ask permission to paraphrase. Using this technique also makes the group work more interesting and provides color in the room when their work is displayed, giving the participants a visual dynamic to the work they have done.
    If you need to provide a lot of data and statistics toward the presentation or facilitation, PowerPoint is a great way to accomplish that need.
    I would encourage you to take the time to make it more interesting for the participants, especially to those in the group that do not absorb the data very well.
    Add photos, animation and maybe a little music to the slides. By being more creative in your slideshow, you can meet the needs of everyone in the group – those that take in the data information well and those that need a little more stimulation. Knowing who your audience will be will determine how to prepare your PowerPoint.
    The adage of “less is more” can also pertain to PowerPoint. We want to get as much information as we can in the presentation but don’t overdo it. Provide handouts of your presentation so people can make notes and or look at the presentation in more detail later.
    When preparing for a presentation, think about setting the room differently. It doesn’t have to be classroom style in order for people to see the screen. Be intentional and deliberate in the room set up so people do not have their backs to the presentation.
    Page 2 of 2 - Take the time to make your PowerPoint interesting for everyone involved. Put yourself in the shoes of those who will be attending, viewing and listening.
    Does it meet the processing needs of the group?
    Do you have enough data to get your point across and enough animation to make it interesting? Prepare your presentation from where your group is, not from where you are.
    For more information, contact Becky Wolfe, Executive Director Leadership Butler at info@leadershipbutlerinc.org or visit our website at www.leadershipbutlerinc.org

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