Death by PowerPoint

The title of this blog is also the title of a popular book by Cherie Kerr who warns against the poor use of PowerPoint slides and gives advice on how make them a positive part of a presentation. You can associate with the title if you’ve ever sat through a mind numbing presentation that had one slide after another loaded with text and information,

Part of most MoveSMART® Instructor kits is a DVD containing PowerPoint slides of the programs key points. Some trainers use the disk, some don’t. The choice is up to the organization and/or the trainer.

Some trainers like the PowerPoint slides to help keep them on track – sort of a crib sheet for what to cover next.

The MoveSMART Instructor-Catalyst manual has a section on using PowerPoint and other visual aids. If you use the PowerPoint presentation be sure to review that section. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Set the equipment up before the session starts and check to make sure it’s focused and operating correctly. If you are not familiar with the equipment or this kind of audiovisual, practice with it beforehand.
  2. If you glance at the screen to check content, make it a glance. Don’t spend a lot of time studying the words and don’t talk to the screen at any time during your presentation. Glance, turn back to the group, then talk.
  3. Don’t stand in the projection line. Having images shine on your face or clothing is distracting.
  4. When you’re talking to the group and no longer need to refer to the slide, blank the screen. Leaving it on divides the group’s attention. If you don’t have a remote control that has a blanking key on it, simply hit the “B” key on the computer keyboard. To get the picture back, hit the “B” key again.
  5. If a slide has several lines of information on it, do a quick run through of “Here’s what we’ll cover in the next few minutes” as you mention each line briefly. Otherwise people will read the rest of the slide while you’re talking about the first line.

One final point: if you know your group dislikes PowerPoint presentations (usually based on past experience) or may see it as “another” management presentation, don’t use the slides. It’s easy to do the MoveSMART training without it. If you do use the PowerPoint, make sure it adds to, not detracts from, the program.

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