Here are a few of the myths that we hear a lot.
1. Tell ’em what you’re going to tell them, tell ’em and tell ’em again.
If you want your presentations to sound stilted and formulaic then this is the technique to use. Oh, and it sounds better in a monotone voice. Otherwise give this a wide berth.
2. Don’t use PowerPoint as it will distract the audience.
This is one of the biggest myths, and yet has been included in an article in The Times this year. According to research by the psychologist Albert Mehrabian, 55% of a presentation is visual. So unless you have a voice like chocolate, if you don’t use visual slides, you are on a hiding to nothing. What we say is don’t use bullet points as they are a very poor way of conveying your message.
3. Clip art makes your presentation look groovy.
Wrong! Clip art makes your presentation look old-fashioned. And unlike house antiques an old-fashioned presentation makes you look like you are behind the times. It’s a bit like wearing fashions from three years ago. I once remember getting a laugh using the clip art of the duck hitting a computer with a mallet – but that was ten years ago. If I put it up today it might get them laughing – but it’s more likely that they would be laughing at me!
There are lots of high quality real pictures that you can use instead of clip art. Use them instead and your presentation should fly. Yet if you go to the Microsoft website you can still see them extolling the benefits of clip art. And I’ll let you into a secret, I’ve seen some Bill Gates presentations and, attractive as they are, there is not a single clip art in sight. We have a great selection of Clip Art on our site which could be used sparingly in your presentations.
4. Martin Luther King didn’t use PowerPoint.
Martin Luther King may not have used PowerPoint, but he was also a great orator, and he had practised his speech many times. If you are great at public speaking, fine – do it. But if you are not, then a visual PowerPoint presentation (no bullet points) should give your presentation a real lift.
If you have any presentation myths or duff advice, please add it to the comments box below.