One of the most important aspects of business is effectively communicating information. Microsoft PowerPoint, when used effectively, can add helpful visual aides to an oral report. When used badly, however, PowerPoint can turn any presentation into a snoozer. A few important ideas for preparation and presentation can help you make the most of PowerPoint.
Creating the Presentation
One of the most common mistakes in PowerPoint creation is placing large blocks of text on a slide, and then reading the slide for your presentation. This adds nothing to your delivery. Instead, try to stick to the "Rule of Three"--put no more than three pieces of information on a given slide and keep those pieces of information at five words or fewer. These will be reference points for you as you deliver your presentation, and highlights for your listeners as they watch.
Also, consider using your own fonts and images instead of the pre-fabricated settings that PowerPoint offers you. Note that if you're using unusual fonts, you'll want to bundle those fonts into your .ppt file. In the dialogue box you get when you're saving the file, click "Tools" and check the box that saves your fonts with your file.
Preparing the Delivery
Before giving your PowerPoint presentation, go through it several times on your own. If possible, deliver the presentation extemporaneously, without reading notes or a script. If necessary, have the highlights from each portion of your presentation on your slides. But go through it enough times that you don't need to consult the computer. This helps you make eye contact with the audience and allows you to sound natural and comfortable.
Delivering the Presentation
When the time comes to present, arrive early to set up all relevant technology. When the audience arrives, go through your presentation slowly and patiently. Look at your audience and smile often. Take time to answer questions from your audience at the end of your presentation.