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Do slides add or detract from your presentation?

PowerPoint presentation skills coaching

presentation skills use of slides

Harvard University says they detract!

Harvard just discovered that PowerPoint is worse than useless”, article by Geoffrey James, Contributing Editor,

“PowerPoint was rated (by online audience) as no better than verbal presentation with no visual aids (ouch)”

Let me give you my view, based on twenty years as both presenter and coaching presenters to pitch for sales and investment.

My first piece of advice is never start by preparing slides, whether the tool be PowerPoint or one of the many other products available.

Your first requirement is to decide the purpose of your presentation, is it to inform the mind, touch the heart or change the will?

Your talk may fulfil a little or all of these requirements, with the additional challenge of being entertaining.

Next, take your audience on a journey!

Having decided on the outcome you wish to achieve; the next step is to create stories that engage your audience and helps to inform them and moves them to your way of thinking.

When you are happy with the conversational flow of the talk and believe your message will have the required effect, the next questions that require answering are as follows:

Question One:

Will my slides add to or detract from my talk?

My personal experience suggests that most audiences groan when the laptop is produced and the presenter proceeds to read the content on the slides for the next forty-five minutes to an hour.

The people I coach, quickly come to realise that an audience would much prefer you to engage with them rath than watch you hide behind your computer screen boring them to death reading your slides in a monotone voice.

They would prefer if you stayed at home and just sent on your slide deck.

Question Two:

How can slides add value to my presentation (conversation)

Slides add value when they are full of high-quality images and video with little text.


Only add video if you are confident the video will play when required. Too often I have seen video’s fail to play, leading to increased stress and embarrassment for the presenter.

The video should also be short; I suggest thirty seconds of content that is very high quality and reinforces the key message you want to deliver.

If it does not do this, you are more than likely to just distract the audience and break the connection you have hopefully built up between you and them.

When do slides work well?

When they act as the prompt that reminds you of the next story, analogy or statistics you wish to discuss.

 Most importantly, it’s when the slide content adds value, colour and increases engagement with the audience.

If you wish to improve your communication skills straight away click here and sign up for my next presentation Skills Programme.