12 most pleasant ways to avoid death by PowerPoint

To engage your audience—and bolster your reputation as a dynamic presenter—try these techniques.

It is estimated that, on average, 350 PowerPoint presentations begin every second. Think back to the last time you viewed a PowerPoint—was it engaging, or would you have preferred banging your head against the wall?

As a presenter, you have many ways to spice up a presentation to help your audience avoid death by PowerPoint.

Getting people to show up to the presentation can be the biggest challenge. The best way is to form a reputation for being a dynamic presenter. If you don’t have that, build your reputation by incorporating these 12 tips.

1. Engaging title and description

If you are not the conference’s keynote speaker, you will probably have to persuade people to attend your presentation. The easiest way to do so, aside from begging and leveraging personal favors, is to have an engaging and attention-grabbing title and description in the program.

2. Get personal

Personal stories are interesting—or should be—and show how your topic is relevant to you and to people in your field. Consider sharing personal experiences and stories in your presentation.

3. Connect with social media

Live-tweet your presentation, and schedule it ahead of time with HootSuite. Include your Twitter handle and a hashtag on the first and last slide. Inject three tweetable moments into your presentation to make sharing easy for the audience.

4. Leverage photos

Images can say more than a few bullet points on a page. Get creative—consider including comics, memes, puzzles, or photos you took yourself.

5. Poll the audience in real time

Use SMS Poll to ask your audience any multiple-choice questions in real time via text message. You set up the question and answer choices in advance. Then you can add it to any slide in your PowerPoint. Note: You will need a Web connection during the presentation for this to work.

6. Animations and transitions

This one is a toss-up—different people have different takes on this. Keep your audience in mind when making this choice. If you include these, do not use too many. Stay classy.

7. Get specific

If you are directing your audience members online, don’t just reference a website; show them a screenshot so they know where to go.

8. 10 tips in 10 minutes

Grab their attention by doing a segment offering 10 tips in 10 minutes. Have an audience member set a timer. This is a great way to get attention by doing something out of the ordinary.

9. Connect your vision to figures of prominence

A good way to do this is through quotes. Consider making a Pinterest-like photo via PicMonkey.

10. Get the audience involved

Break up into discussion groups, provide handouts, or include fill-in-the-blank PowerPoint slides.

11. Inject humor

Humor gets people interested. Be careful—humor is normally at the expense of a group or individual. Consider making fun of neutral topics such as yourself or the weather, or even think about poking fun at typical, cookie-cutter PowerPoints.

12. Give away topic-related items

Everyone likes leaving a presentation with free swag. Don’t worry—everyone who attends does not need a prize. Just bring a few, and give them away. If you can find prizes related to your topic, then you get bonus points as a presenter.

What is the most interesting thing you have seen someone do while giving a PowerPoint presentation? What else should be added to this list?

Jenny Kay Pollock is the social media specialist at Four51. This article is republished with permission, courtesy of 12 Most.

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