PowerPoint Effectiveness E-Course

Here are links to each of the lessons in the e-course:

  • Lesson 1 – Creating a Presentation Outline Too many presenters start creating a presentation in one of the two following ways: a) they sit down at their computer, open PowerPoint, and start creating slides, or b) they open a past PowerPoint presentation, copy some of the slides into a new file, and hope to add new slides that will complete their message. Neither of these methods is very effective. Why? Because PowerPoint will not help you create a clear message for your audience. It is only a tool to create visual support. So where should you start instead? ...
  • Lesson 2 – Reduce Information Overload What is the biggest issue in presentations today? According to the audiences I survey and the participants in my workshops, it is information overload. Presenters put too much information in their presentations, which overwhelms and confuses the audience. Mistakenly, presenters think that more detail is better, when what the audience really wants is to hear the result, conclusion, or summary of your analysis. So what can presenters do to reduce information overload in their presentations? In my book Present It So They Get It, I offer five strategies for reducing information ...
  • Lesson 3 – Planning your slides Once you have decided on what information you will include in your presentation using the ideas in the first two lessons of this e-course, you can then decide how to support your message with slides. Presentation software, whether it is PowerPoint or any other software, is only a tool you can use to create effective slides. The software won’t create the slides on its own. The default slide layout for PowerPoint is a title with a series of bullet points below. While I am not opposed to using text slides, I ...
  • Lesson 4 – Designing slides so they are easy to see One of the common complaints of audiences is that they can’t see what the presenter has put on the slide. Either the colors don’t show up easily, the font is hard to read, or the text is way too small to read. If the audience can’t see the information on your slide, they can’t understand your message. In today’s lesson I’ll be talking about selecting colors and fonts that make it easy for the audience to see the content on your slide. Some of you may not think this lesson applies ...
  • Lesson 5 – Best Practices for Graphs Graphs are a great way to show numeric information visually. They aren’t the best visual in every situation, but I find that more presenters could use graphs instead of copying tables from Excel on to a slide. In today’s lesson I want to cover some best practices when using graphs in PowerPoint. Create graphs in PowerPoint, not Excel The first practice is one that many people find a bit shocking. I suggest you always create your graph in PowerPoint, not in Excel and copy it into PowerPoint. This comes as a shock ...
  • Lesson 6 – Using Photos and Images A photo is one of the first types of visuals that many presenters use. It could be product photo, team photo, technical drawing, or any other image that illustrates what you are speaking about. It is easy to insert a photo on a slide and in this lesson I will share where you can find photos that you can use, why you need to beware of using images from the web, and some tips on making photos have greater impact on slides. Microsoft’s image library is gone Microsoft used to make available ...
  • Lesson 7 – Delivery Tips Up to now, our lessons have focused on planning your presentation and designing the slides that you will use.  Unfortunately, if you don’t present the slides well, the effectiveness of your message suffers dramatically.  In today’s lesson, I want to share some tips on delivering PowerPoint slides in a way that is smooth and seamless and allows the audience to focus on your message instead of being distracted by the use of technology. You need to practice and rehearse A few years ago I read an article in Presentations magazine that clearly ...
  • Next steps for more effective presentations Yesterday I wrapped up your seven day e-course on creating more effective PowerPoint presentations and I just wanted to drop you a quick note on next steps you can take. If you missed any of the lessons, you can access all of them using this link. How do you take your learning about effective presentations even further? Here are some suggestions. If you are a presenter looking for more depth on the topics in the e-course, check out my books and e-books here. If you are a manager, director, or executive who wants to ...

Reading each lesson is only the first step in increasing the effectiveness of your PowerPoint presentations.  The critical next step is to implement the ideas in each lesson.  Remember that change only happens when you make it happen, so commit now to taking 10-15 minutes after you have read each lesson to look at your presentation and see how you can implement the ideas.

If you signed up prior to July 2013, the lessons you would have received are:

  • Lesson 1 – A properly structured presentation is more effective Research by Professor Richard Mayer shows that using a clear structure for a presentation improves audience understanding.  A good structure is even more important for those who are not as familiar with your topic area, as it gives them context.  Today’s lesson focuses on how we can structure our presentation and how the sequence helps improve the effectiveness of our message. First decide on the goal of the presentation The first step is to decide on what the goal of the presentation is.  What helps me is to complete a sentence that ...
  • Lesson 2 – Clean Slide Design improves presentation effectiveness A common complaint of audiences is that they can’t see what is on the slide because the color choice, font choice or font size is making the slides unreadable.  These are all problems with slide design and in today’s lesson, we’ll cover some ideas that will help you create a design for your slides that is clean and easy for the audience to see. Select colors that have enough contrast The reason that some slides are unreadable is that the colors that have been selected do not have enough contrast with each ...
  • Lesson 3 – The importance of persuasion in making your presentation effective I have come to the conclusion that every presentation is, at least in part, a persuasive presentation.  In today’s lesson I want to share with you some of the key ideas on how we persuade others, so that you can keep this in mind when creating presentations that will be effective. Is every presentation really a persuasive one? Some presenters will suggest that since they do training or report on financial or operating results, they aren’t doing a persuasive presentation.  Let me suggest another perspective that may change your outlook.  I would ...
  • Lesson 4 – The KWICK Method for creating persuasive visuals After reviewing thousands of PowerPoint slides, I have concluded that there are four stages that presenters move through as they learn how to use visuals more effectively.  First, there is the “PowerPoint as teleprompter” stage where the presenter writes what they want to say on each slide and reads it to the audience.  Then there is the “PowerPoint as speaker notes” bullet point slides where the bullet points are really there to remind the presenter what to say.  When a presenter discovers visuals, they usually move into the stage where ...
  • Lesson 5 – Creating Effective Graphs that Audiences can Understand A common message that we need to communicate is numeric data.  Whether it is financial results, operational data or measurements of any kind, instead of placing a table of numbers on your slide, a graph is usually a better approach.  In today’s lesson I want to share some tips on making a graph more effective using the ideas in the KWICK method that I shared in the last lesson. Show only the data you need to I know that the spreadsheet has 40 numbers in it, but if you are only comparing ...
  • Lesson 6 – Lessons from Slide Makeovers on creating more effective visuals Every two weeks I take a slide that has been sent to me for a workshop or by a newsletter subscriber like yourself, and I do a “before” and “after” makeover on it.  In today’s lesson, I will share two makeovers and what we, as presenters, can learn from them. Makeover #1 – The Never Ending List This set of four slides was sent to me by a newsletter subscriber and is a great illustration of a list that will lose the audience quickly.  In the slides, the presenter is trying to ...
  • Lesson 7 – Delivery Tips to make your presentation more effective Up to now, our lessons have focused on creating the presentation structure and visuals that you will use.  Unfortunately, if you don’t present the slides well, the effectiveness of your message suffers dramatically.  In today’s lesson, I want to share some tips on delivering PowerPoint slides in a way that is smooth and seamless and allows the audience to focus on your message instead of being distracted by the use of technology. Practice is not enough, you also need to rehearse A few years ago I read an article in Presentations magazine ...
  • Bonus Resources for effective presentations I know I’ve shared a number of resources during the seven day e-course that you recently signed up for and today I wanted to share a few more that will help you continue on the path of improving the effectiveness of your presentations. Archive of all seven lessons If you’d like to review any of the lessons or one of the lessons got caught in a filter along the way, you can review all of the lessons by clicking here. Newsletter archive If you haven’t already received your first issue of my bi-weekly PowerPoint Tips ...