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Presenting With PowerPoint: 10 Dos and Don'ts

The use of PowerPoint in presentations has ignited debate around the world – is it effective or not? Use our tips for making sure you're not boring your crowd to death.

Hold up your end with compelling material.
In a way, PowerPoint's ease of use may be its own worst enemy. However simple and engaging it can be to build eye catching slides and graphics, bear in mind that PowerPoint isn't autonomous. The audience has come to hear you, not merely to stare at images tossed onto a screen. Build a strong PowerPoint program, but make sure that your spoken remarks are no less compelling. "PowerPoint doesn't give presentations — PowerPoint makes slides," says Matt Thornhill, president of Audience First, a business that offers presentation training. "Remember that you are creating slides to support a spoken presentation."

Don't parrot PowerPoint.
One of the most prevalent and damaging habits of PowerPoint users is to simply read the visual presentation to the audience. Not only is that redundant — short of using the clicker, why are you even there? — but it makes even the most visually appealing presentation boring to the bone. PowerPoint works best with spoken remarks that augment and discuss, rather than mimic, what's on the screen. "Even with PowerPoint, you've got to make eye contact with your audience," says Roberta Prescott of The Prescott Group, a communications consulting firm. "Those people didn't come to see the back of your head."

Distribute handouts at the end — not during the presentation.
Some people may disagree with me here. But no speaker wants to be chatting to a crowd that's busy reading a summation of her remarks. Unless it is imperative that people follow a handout while you're presenting, wait until you're done to distribute them.

Here are 10 ways to use PowerPoint to help make your business look brilliant, not brainless - Presenting With PowerPoint: 10 Dos and Don'ts