I've seen more than a few PowerPoint presentations. I've experienced some so boring I counted the slides instead of reading them. And I've seen slides so difficult to read, I found myself blinking coquettish starlet. But then, every once in a while I get wowed by a stellar PowerPoint presentation.
To really get to the heart of the matter, I'm going to make this little PowerPoint discussion a three-part deal covering Content, Visuals, and Media. In this first part, let's talk about how content makes those rare PowerPoint gems so great.
Content is what you want your participants to know, to have in the front part of their brains as they return to the rest of their day, and what they think about throughout the week. However, the strength of content also contains its weakness. Details, minutia, supporting arguments, and anything else besides your main point serve to drag a presentation down into mediocrity.
As a result, content should be surgically chosen. What exactly is the main point? What details are absolutely necessary to support that point? Only include content that answers either of those questions, and leave out the rest.
"It's not vital information, but it's still important!"
That statement is the grease on the slippery slope that has spawned so many bad PowerPoint slides. Remember, YOU are the focus of the presentation and PowerPoint is your support. Show the main points and tell the little details and supporting arguments to your participants. Everything else gets put into a handout for later reference.
Less is more. Your presentation can contain tons of data, but your PowerPoint presentation should only bear a fraction of it.
Next up: Visuals