Computers have definitely helped public speakers with the most essential parts of the process for any event — preparation and presentation.
Presentation software, most notably PowerPoint and Keynote, has enabled anyone with a little patience and work to prepare slide presentations and handouts that cover the highlights of any speech. The more adventurous and computer savvy presenters are even using video software to add some zip to their programs.
The use of these presentation tools has gotten much debate and there has even been some backlash against the PowerPoint/Keynote technique. Still, as Dr. Patti Shank wrote in a post for Faculty Focus:
“Yeah, it’s easy to produce mind-numbing PowerPoint slides, and unfortunately, mind-numbing uses of PowerPoint are all around us—in online information and instruction, classroom-based instruction, training courses, and in the boardroom. But PowerPoint is just a tool. And like most tools, it can be used well or horribly or anywhere in between.”
That last sentence should be taken by all as a warning.
If you are going to use presentation software, make sure that you use it wisely
So what makes using PowerPoint or Keynote for a presentation work? There are many differing opinions on that, but the emerging thought is that simple and visual is the key. Slides that use images and graphics work best when they are used to highlight the speaker’s points.
Another good bit of advice is to avoid putting your speech or an outline of your speech on the slides. The slides should enhance or expound on what you are saying.
Using computer programs to help prepare for presentations helps build confidence for any speaker. The work of preparing slides can help you focus on the essential points of the speech and add interesting information in easy to grasp forms.
A novice public speaker can easily slip into overusing presentation software. If you are one of those people, here’s a two-step solution. Do your presentation loaded with all the text, pictures and charts. Now make a copy of it and use that for your own purposes. Now go through your slides and edit them down to a few that you want to share with the audience, carefully selecting those that deal with the key facts of what you are saying.
Taking that second step will make your presentation sparkle and keep your audience engaged.
Using the right tools appropriately can help you make public speaking easy and stress free. The Podium Pro app will be one more tool that you can use to make your public speaking engagements more successful.