Speaker at Business convention and Presentation. Audience at the conference hall
ATD Blog

Let PowerPoint Be Your Co-Presenter

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Plan on using PowerPoint for your next training course?

Wait, don’t launch the program just yet, cautions Brian Washburn in “PowerPoint: Your Co-Facilitator,” the May 2018 bonus issue of TD at Work. Instead, Washburn suggests following the advice of Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations: map out what you want learners to walk away with, using pencil and paper. This will help focus your presentation and help you to be more intentional with how you design your slides.

“If you don’t think through how you can visually best support information, your slide deck is no longer your co-presenter. … Instead, you are left to compete with your slide deck—and keep in mind, people can read information on your slides faster than you can speak,” writes Washburn.

To make your slide deck—whether using PowerPoint or some other preferred presentation software—more effective, Washburn offers the following techniques.

Allow for Flexibility In Jumping Around Within the Presentation
Rather than sticking with a linear delivery, give participants some control about where they want to go. (Further benefit: it allows you as a trainer to skip over content if you’re short for time.) Consider incorporating hyperlinks into your presentation so that you can easily access slides by jumping to the appropriate point, and then returning to the initial slide to resume your presentation.


Incorporate Games Into Your Design
Audience participation by way of games maintains interest and allows you, as a trainer, to assess the knowledge level of participants. For instance, use a Family Feud type of design to ask learners to guess or offer answers to the question at hand.

Use Polling or Other Survey Tools
Unlike asking participants to raise hands in response to a question, polling technology may generate more forthcoming and honest responses from learners. This is true because many participants simply follow the leader and raise their hand when other attendees do. In addition, open-ended questions may elicit opinions and feedback from introverted participants who may not offer it if forced to speak up in front of others.


Look Around for Additional Ideas
Interactive, hands-on museum exhibits or innovative web sites may provide “aha” moments for the trainer in designing engaging presentation slides. Further tips include using visuals and graphics intentionally. Provide one data point, for example, that captures the attention of your participants. Have learners discuss the significance of the fact or bring the statistic to life by telling a story around it.

Want to learn more? Take a look inside PowerPoint: Your Co-Facilitator.

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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