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How to Give a “Knockout” Presentation PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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How to Give a “Knockout” Presentation. Willis Jensen SOS Seminar February 28, 2006. Outline. General Guidelines Slide Do’s and Don’ts Handouts Powerpoint Navigation Delivery Do’s and Don’ts How to Handle Questions Final Thoughts. Disclaimer

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How to Give a “Knockout” Presentation

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How to Give a “Knockout” Presentation

Willis Jensen

SOS Seminar

February 28, 2006


  • General Guidelines

  • Slide Do’s and Don’ts

    • Handouts

    • Powerpoint Navigation

  • Delivery Do’s and Don’ts

    • How to Handle Questions

  • Final Thoughts


I don’t claim to be an expert, I’ve just had to do a lot of presentations and have seen a lot of presentations (both good and bad)


While at 3M, I learned presentation skills and subsequently taught sessions on this as part of Six Sigma training

Why are presentation skills important?

  • Job Hunting

  • Academia (Crucial to Tenure)

    • Conferences, Seminars, Teaching classes

  • Industry (Way of Life)

    • Training, Project Reports, Reports to Management

  • Other

    • Speaking in church, politics, fund raising, community service, etc.

General Guidelines

A good presentation is a “POPTA” presentation

What does POPTA stand for?

General Guidelines

  • Purpose

    • You need to define your purpose for giving the presentation

      • Teach, Persuade, Prove, Review, Expository, Impress, Put to Sleep, Entertain?

    • Often your goal is a high level overview, even for a technical presentation

    • Don’t tell them everything you did, you’ll bore them

General Guidelines

  • Organization

    • Always have an outline

    • Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them

      • Hint: I am doing this for this presentation

    • Problem then solution

      • Not just “data then solution” or “solution then problem”

General Guidelines

  • Preparation

    • An unprepared presenter loses the audience before even starting

    • Practice makes perfect and builds confidence

    • Arrive early, make sure everything is set up

    • Dress appropriately

      • Better to dress up than down

    • Slides should be done well in advance

General Guidelines

  • Time

    • Be sure you know how much time you have while preparing the presentation

      • Not 5 minutes before you start

    • It is better to end early than to go over

      • Always have a watch or clock in view

    • You’ll never have enough time to tell everything so stick to the most important

    • Rule of thumb

      • At most 1 slide per minute of presentation

      • Better to plan 2 minutes for each slide

General Guidelines

  • Audience

    • Be sure you know your audience well

    • Tailor presentation to your audience

      • Failure to do this is probably the biggest mistake people make

      • You should never give the same presentation twice

    • Are there multiple audiences?

      • If so, direct different slides to different audiences

    • Watch the audience for clues

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • “PowerPoint doesn’t give presentations – PowerPoint makes slides”

    • From website

  • Your comments should be more compelling than the slides

  • You shouldn’t put everything on the slide

    • K.I.S.S. Principle

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do include 50% white space

  • Do make it obvious which section of your outline you’re in

  • Do make each slide stand on its own

    • Generally 1 main point for each slide

  • Do use animation

    • Don’t overuse it

      • Makes it difficult and annoying to navigate

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do include written conclusion for every graph

    • Don’t forget to add meaningful labels, titles, captions, etc. to graphs

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t use yellow text

    • Do use dark text and bold

  • Do use formatting and color to emphasize (e.g. POPTA)

  • Don’t include unrelated pictures

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t include periods at the end of a bullet.

  • Don’t do proofs

  • Do include a journal name with a reference

    • Jensen, Jones-Farmer, Champ, and Woodall (2006, Journal of Quality Technology)

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t do serif fonts (like Times New Roman)

  • Do use sans serif fonts (like Arial)

    • or Tahoma

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do save your file using “embedded fonts”

    • File menu->Save As->Tools (in upper right hand corner)->Save Options->Embed True Type Fonts

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t just copy formulas and equations from your work (dissertation, paper, etc.)

    • Also known as “equationitis”

    • Do use formulas and equations sparingly

    • Do explain all notation used

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do chek yor speling for mestakes

    • Typos instantly destroy credibility and convey lack of preparation

    • Do have someone else read through presentation

  • Do acknowledge previous work and help

  • Do use a template if using PowerPoint

  • Do put title slide at the end

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do use a light background like this

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Or like this

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Or like this

Slide Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t use a dark background like this

    • Even if using a lighter font color

    • Harder to read, especially from the back

    • More likely to put people asleep

    • Handouts often don’t look very good

Do use occasional “spice” or “pace breakers”





Questions (Not just





Physical Objects

Top Ten Lists


Slide Do’s and Don’ts

For example . . .

A pace breaker can do this for your audience


  • Use them if they help achieve your objective

    • Especially for technical presentations

    • Greatly increases retention

  • Often best to pass out at the end

    • You want to keep the audience engaged

Navigation in PowerPoint

  • Always go through your presentation in slide show mode before giving it

    • Multiple times

  • Use keyboard short cuts, not the mouse

  • F1 (in slide show mode)

    • To bring up the list of all shortcut keys (Escape to hide the list)

    • Use this while practicing to help you learn the navigation

Navigation in PowerPoint

  • To start slide show mode

    • F5 (Automatically takes you to start of presentation)

  • To end slide show mode

    • Escape

Navigation in PowerPoint

  • Home

    • To go to the beginning slide

  • End

    • To go to last slide

  • Type the slide #, then Enter

    • To jump to any particular slide

  • B

    • Black screen

  • W

    • White screen

Delivery Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t read or “parrot” the slides

    • Otherwise, why give a presentation?

  • Do use the slides as a cue

    • Let audience read

  • Do use pointers sparingly

    • They magnify nervousness

    • Create slides and use animation that emphasize your points

Delivery Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do plan breaks for longer presentations

    • 10 minutes for every hour

  • Do be passionate about the topic

    • Have fun, this is your opportunity

    • If your audience doesn’t know why your topic is important, you’ve lost them

  • Don’t forget to practice

    • Record yourself, tape yourself, or use a mirror

    • Reading through slides does not count as practice

Delivery Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do relax, use nerves to your advantage

    • Breathe deeply, pause as needed

    • Don’t go too fast

    • Do watch out for mannerisms

      • “Um . . um”

  • Do empty your pockets and hands

  • Don’t point at computer, point at the screen

Delivery Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do use body language to help make a point

    • Purposeful movements

  • Do use appropriate posture

    • Don’t slouch

    • Sitting implies informality

  • Do move around if possible

    • Don’t pace

    • Don’t be hyperactive

    • Center yourself, rearrange setup if needed

Delivery Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do face audience more than slides

    • Don’t talk to the screen or wall

  • Do vary your voice

    • Don’t speak in monotone

    • Most people speak too soft, not too loud

  • Do memorize slide numbers for key slides

    • Or transition points

  • Do get honest feedback from someone you trust

Delivery Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t forget to smile

Handling Questions

  • Welcome them

    • Lots of questions are either a sign of:

      • Interest in what you are talking about

        • Audience internalizing

      • Failure to communicate an idea

        • Meaning that the person still wants to understand

  • Always repeat the question

    • For you to make sure you understood it

    • For audience to make sure they heard it

Handling Questions

  • Answer the question to the audience

    • Then check back to the individual for confirmation

  • Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”

    • Better than mumbling or fumbling an answer

Final thoughts


  • Good slides go a long way

  • Practice, practice, practice

  • Remember that the audience wants you to succeed

  • Use other resources (Books, web, etc.)

  • Anyone can learn to be a better presenter!

How to Give a “Knockout” Presentation

Willis Jensen

SOS Seminar

February 28, 2006

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