It's all in the presentation - avoiding death by PowerPoint - Business Works
BW brief

It's all in the presentation - avoiding death by PowerPoint

Phillip Adcock Of the 30 million PowerPoint presentations being created worldwide every single day, a large majority will lead to ‘death by PowerPoint’, according to Phillip Adcock, a leading commercial psychologist. He has worked with corporate training specialist Ian Callow to develop a first-of-its-kind guide to help those creating presentations to achieve the ultimate communication objectives: to engage the audience and to effectively transfer relevant information.

Research has shown that as much as 80% of the content of a presentation is forgotten within less than 24 hours.

"PowerPoint has become a core communication tool within so many walks of life," says Phillip. "Whether it’s the business to business presentation, the college lecture or even the Sunday sermon at Church, PowerPoint is in there, visualising what speakers are talking about. The program is supposed to help both the speaker, with an easier access to his subject matter, and the participants, with visual information which complements what is being said by the speaker."

"But what is the point of presenting information that will be forgotten quickly? The fundamental issue is that too many people think that typing a few bullet points in PowerPoint makes them expert communicators and professional raconteurs. Just as most of us think we are good drivers, so do we believe that we are proficient at presenting?" he added.

Phillip outlines some key considerations anyone considering the creation of a presentation should take:

  • Attention span: are you aware of, and do you even consider, the typical attention span of an audience, which peaks around five minutes in and lasts only about twenty minutes overall?
  • Human memory capacity: do you know enough about human memory to be able to deliver a memorable presentation? The human brain is notoriously poor at processing information and much gets filtered out and ignored.
  • Too much information: how many words should be on the screen at any one time? It may surprise you to hear that the ideal is no more than six!
  • Key messages: would you know the maximum number of key messages that an audience and typically take on board during a presentation? It’s 7 plus or minus 2 as a rule.
  • Prioritising messaging: do you know what the one key message you want the audience to leave the presentation with and retain in their long-term memories? You’d be surprised how many presenters just what to ‘spray’ the audience with everything they have and then pray that they remember some of it.
  • Value: can you quantify the likely return on investment ie. financial value of any presentation you give in terms of potential business to be won, value of information imparted, etc?

Presenters handbook Ian Callow added, "When you are presenting, you are the living link between the audience and the subject matter including those all-important key messages. It is your role to manage the audience and key message relationships in order to optimise the communication from presentation to audience. Our book is here to help you do this more effectively and to help your communication to be more impactful."

The Presenter’s Handbook is a complete guide to making presentations more effective, concentrating not just on visual aids and PowerPoint, but also on presenting skills as well and is relevant to people in business, education, leisure and even everyday life, as it is a guide to effective human to human communication.

Tweet article
BW on TwitterBW RSS feed