Successfully presenting to an audience takes a decent amount of preparation. People often think that focusing on design elements and on-screen text in PowerPoint (PP) is more important than anything else. After all, your presentations must be visually compelling to retain audience interest (click here to learn 6 visual elements that give extra pop to PowerPoint Presentations). While there’s no doubt that the visuals do matter, don’t forget that a strong presentation script is essential too.
Why? If you don’t have a script, you’re likely to get caught reading off slides or rambling on and on. Neither of those tactics will capture your audience’s attention and imagination, and that spells doom for any presentation. Incorporate script-writing into your presentation design strategy to make a greater impact on your audience.
Making Powerful Connections with Your Audience
When you give a presentation, a visually compelling PowerPoint design is just half of the picture. A dynamic, persuasive human presenter is also an essential piece of the puzzle. The best way to impress your audience is to be able to give a thoughtful narrative that fits your presentation.
The idea is to create a presentation that complements what you have to say. There’s nothing worse than sitting through a presentation that offers nothing more than what a PDF file could have said. Use your PP slides to illustrate what you have to say instead of letting them speak for you. Strong graphics, statistics and short, punchy text are a great way to make a big visual impact that complements your core message.
Remember that having a solid script is just part of the picture. It’s also important to rehearse your presentation so that you can speak with confidence and authority. Rehearsing helps you master your script and prevent the need to read off your PP file during the whole presentation.
Taking Advantage of Human Perception & Memory
No one wants to sit through a presentation that’s full of overwhelming or ugly visuals. It’s just human nature. If you have too much information on individual PP slides, it will distract your audience from the important information. Remember that you’re speaking for your slides, not the other way around. Your PowerPoint design should be succinct and compelling without burying what you have to say.
Keep the limitations of human memory in mind when you are writing your script. The average human in your audience can remember about seven list items on the fly. Avoid loading your slide with bullet points or text so that your audience can remember the information. Remember that you can always provide your audience with detailed information about presentation topics via handouts and web links.
Bringing Presentations and Handouts Together
Presenting to an audience means more than providing in-the-moment information. You need to imprint the message in the minds of the audience members long after your presentation is done. Providing attendees with handouts can add priceless value to your presentation no matter the size of the audience.
Instead of distracting the audience from your PP slides, handouts should help extend and elaborate on your points. A handout is the perfect place to provide in-depth statistics or technical information about the topic that you’re discussing. If you mention online resources or content in your presentation, you should also include links for those items in your presentation handouts. As you work on handouts, remember that every aspect of your presentation should complement your overall goal.
Creating a PowerPoint Presentation Script That Works
A presentation script is an important tool that will help maximise your impact on your audience and contribute to the potency of your overall PowerPoint design. If you don’t know how to write a script, start by making an outline of your presentation. What are the key points that you need to communicate to your audience? What stats, facts and figures absolutely must be included in your presentation?
Once you’ve drawn up a general outline, you can start fleshing out how you’ll address each point. If you haven’t already created your PP presentation, make notes as you go along about what should be on each slide. If your slides are ready to go, write targeted text that complements each item and provides information that can’t be found on the screen. Know exactly how much time you have for your presentation, and rehearse it so that you’re not left saying too much or too little on presentation day.
Remember that it’s fine to write with a conversational tone. The idea is to make a strong connection with your audience, and speaking to them in a warm, welcoming tone will help you do that. Think of a PP presentation as nothing more than a dynamic conversation with an audience that is invested in learning more about your topic.
Scripting the Stage for Success
If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of writing a script, remember that doing so is just one more way to set the stage for success on the day of your presentation. Run your script by your colleagues or ask them for help if you’re stuck. Get your first script out of the way, and you’ll be a master at preparing a compelling presentation that people will actually look forward to attending.
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