Joy Miller, a technical writer for more than 16 years (12 at Microsoft), lives in the Seattle area of the state of Washington. She writes help documentation and produces how-to videos for Microsoft Office PowerPoint. You can find her industry-related posts on a regular basis at the PowerPoint Blog.
In this conversation, Joy discusses the just concluded Presentation Summit.
Geetesh: Tell us about the Presentation Summit that you attended in Austin last month – what was your experience?
Joy: This was my second year at the Presentation Summit. As an employee of Microsoft, my objectives for the summit were to engage with people who use PowerPoint to find out how they use it. Also, to learn how industry experts are advising our customers how to best use PowerPoint.
I create help content for PowerPoint – including writing articles and producing how-to videos that can help people accomplish their goals using PowerPoint. That said, I am always up for learning valuable tips on how to better design, build, and deliver a presentation. The basis behind my using and documenting how to use PowerPoint is: ‘Less is more. Inspire with visuals. Speak with enthusiasm.’
Interactive Session at the Presentation Summit
Picture Courtesy: Joy Miller
Geetesh: What were the key takeaways for you from the Summit?
Joy: I shared my favorite takeaways in a recent blog post I wrote about the Summit, but for the purposes of this interview, I’d like to disclose them here:
- Less on a slide is more.
- For a key slide to stand out, it must have weaker neighbors; less impactful slides before and after.
- Convert slide text and bullet points to SmartArt graphics. They’re so much more visual, and super easy to do.
- Storytelling: Share personal stories to gain attention and empathy from your audience.
- When presenting, use props to help you make an important point.
- The audience will remember absurd visuals, such as a photograph of an old man with blonde hair or someone wearing a grass suit.
- Whenever possible, involve the audience in your presentation. Make it interactive.
- Remember these fundamental skills when presenting to a live audience:
- Use purposeful eye contact to help “pull you around the room”.
- Use hand gestures that are associated with what you are saying. But don’t distract from what you’re saying by overusing hand gestures.
- Pay attention to pace, pause, and vocal variety when speaking.