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Powerpoint is a much derided business tool, but you should underestimate it at your peril. There are other similar products available like Keynote and Prezi but they all essentially do the same thing. These tips apply to all of them and please note, used badly, they are all as terrible as each other.

‘Death by Powerpoint’ refers to the feeling you get when faced with slide after slide of boring, mind numbing information. People seem to think the more slides they produce for the meeting or presentation, the more value they bring to the table. NOT TRUE, and leads us to tip 1:

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One idea per slide: The simpler the idea the better. And preferably its an idea that advances the conversation with the others in your meeting.

Avoid text if you can, use pictures! A picture is better than a thousand words right? Well use them in your Powerpoint to tell your stories. Another plus are pictures that use the whole slide and aren’t bordered at all look brilliant.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 11:  Apple Senior VP ...

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 11: Apple Senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall demonstrates the new map application featured on iOS 6 during the keynote address (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

If you must use text, use as few words as possible. Aim for one word if you can! The more time people spend reading your slide, the less time they are spending listening to you. Think headlines, just to help you along.

As Guy Kawasaki will tell you, use big fonts. He thinks that the font size should be the age of the oldest person in the room! Not sure about that, but make it big and bold!

Actually, there are a ton of other good tips in this video, but the stuff on presentations starts ar 9 minutes 10 seconds. Make sure you watch it all though, its the best marketing video I’ve ever seen.

Remember the point of Powerpoint! It’s to help YOU remember where you are in the conversation, not be the conversation itself. I always think a good Powerpoint doesn’t make any sense unless presented by its author.

Keep it short. I always try to stick to the idea that the room can only keep its concentration for 20 minutes without a break, so try to aim for that long a presentation. The ability to concisely and efficiently make your point is a powerful one to have. If you’ve got that ability, flaunt it.

Finally, make it entertaining. Use pictures video audio. Be funny, light and informative. Think of the opposites of those words and avoid them at all costs! All the people I know that are regarded as great presenters are entertaining. Its more than half the battle.

Think of your presentation as a story. It’s a step by step journey to explain something or to sell something to your audience. Remember, if you are bored by it, they definitely will be, and if that’s the case you’ll lose your audience. Keep it simple, and keep it as short as you can. Your audience will thank you for it!

What about you? Do you have any great presentation tips you’d be willing to share? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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