Skillset New Zealand Blog

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We've all heard the phrase 'Death by PowerPoint'. This is the second in a series designed to reduce the PowerPoint mortality rate. And this tip could hardly be simpler. Don't (visually) SHOUT!

You're shouting when you over-use PowerPoint's visual effects

When PowerPoint first arrived, many presenters thought, Now I too can look great. It offered them wizardry, enabling them to use whizz-bang effects until audience eyeballs rolled in their sockets.

Sorry, but if your unstated message is please admire my great audio-visual effects, then your stated message is likely to be overwhelmed.

Your audiences will leave, thinking, what was that about? and sympathising with the angry Pentagon general who issued orders to all armed services data-show users: "Keep it simple. Get to the point."

Emphasise everything and your audience will tune out

Each electronic visual effect is like finding a word written in caps in an email or text (also known as shouting). So here's the point. By all means shout occasionally, but constant visual shouting causes audiences to tune your message out.

And as time goes by, the dislike of visual shouting is growing stronger... perhaps because we are increasingly exposed to brutal visual shouting in advertisements.

PowerPoint must subtly enhance, not visually deafen.

Michael

About Michael Brown

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Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

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