It is said that Winston Churchill invested one hour of
preparation for every minute that he presented a speech in
This week I was subjected to yet another instance of
PowerPointledness. I was in the audience where a University
professor presented the results of his research on best
practices. Our presenter obviously did not rehearse the
presentation. His comments such as "This slide is purposely
too busy for your to see all the details because it is so
complex you won't understand it", and "We have to many
slides here for the time tonight, so we will just flip
through some of them", builds resentment in the audience.
Our presenter invested all of his time in collecting slides
from previous presentations and mixing up a brew of
disparate thoughts with no clear message. He seemingly
invested less than 30 minutes in preparing for a 60 minute
presentation - which he also exceeded due to his incessant
In this presentation, I wondered - and your audience will
also think to themselves - "Why am I listening to this
presenter? He is insulting me and wasting my time".
Let's share the solutions to presentations like this that
take place all over the world, every day, so that you can
excel in your presentations.
Let's do our part to make the world of PowerPoint
Presentations better again by committing to set the example.
How do you overcome these issues? Through rehearsal - The
simple word that speaks volumes
Do the following when you rehearse, and your audience will
see that you are on stage to help them understand the
1. After you have created your slides hook up a projector
and review them. They will look different through the
projector because suddenly your six-rows-by-12-columns table
that is easy to understand on your laptop, makes no sense
when you try to read it from the back of the room. You will
be astonished to find out how little your audience can make
out of your text-laden, content-packed slides. After you
have revised your slides, try them through a projector
(If you can test out your presentation in the room where you
will present, then so much better. Otherwise, be on the safe
side and use text and tabular representations sparingly.)
2. Check the timing by speaking your presentation out loud.
Use a stopwatch and start your presentation in your normal
voice with normal rate of speech. Then you will get a sense
of how much information you have and how long your
presentation will be. In most cases, you will find that you
have far too much information for the allotted time and you
need to refine your content.
Highlight the most important information and remove the
rest. If you don't yet have a core message for your
presentation, then now is the time to write down the core
message of the presentation. What do you want the audience
to walk out of your presentation with? What information do
you want them to leave with?
Also remember that no-one will resent you for finishing five
minutes early. The situation changes drastically when you
are still going strong five minutes after your allotted time
Just by rehearsing your presentation once, you will be on
the path to getting rid of resentment in your audience. Go
ahead and rehearse at least once to show your audience that
you respect your time and theirs.