PowerPoint: 5 techniques to excite—not bore—your audience

Brevity and vivid imagery are essential to making the most of this popular presentation tool.

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Have you ever sat through a PowerPoint presentation and felt as though all the oxygen was being sucked out of the room? Of course you have! PowerPoint—despite being as dull as a stack of phone directories, as relentless as a headache, and as pious as a preacher—has still managed to become the primary mould into which presentations are now “poured.”

In response, I want to imitate that blonde weight-loss guru from the ’90s and yell “Stop the insanity!”

Sadly, PowerPoint is not going to stop. It’s too easy to use and far too commonplace. So my mission today is simple enough. I want to ask you to use it differently. Here are five tips for making your PowerPoint presentations more, well, powerful.

1. Make one to three points, not 10 or 20. Please do not be lured by ease with which PowerPoint lets you create bullets. Although I love bullets, I don’t think they deserve center stage in oral presentations. For one thing, they’re better suited to print. For another, the mere presence of bullets will tempt you into doing a data dump on your hapless audience. The mind will tolerate only what the seat can bear.

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