As a motivational healthcare speaker I often get to watch industry educators and salespeople use PowerPoint. From what I’ve observed, many have absolutely no idea how to employ this audio-visual tool effectively which is something you learn when you become one. Instead of using PowerPoint to reinforce their keynote speeches, seminars and workshops, they allow it to become a distraction.

And so here are some tips for putting power into the way you use PowerPoint…

(FYI: In this article I’m going to concentrate on how to work with your PowerPoint slides so they enhance your program, rather than distract from it. (I’ll leave the preparation of the slides for another time.)

Tip 1: If you’re fortunate enough to decide the room floor-plan, ensure the projector screen is positioned off to one side. This is so you can stand in the center of the platform (a theatrically powerful position).

Tip 2: Here’s a tip I learned from this website which provides great tips for motivational speakers . Don’t fall into the easy trap of reading from your PowerPoint slides. Make a specific effort to maintain eye contact with your audience. (Remember, you have the task of persuading the audience, not the slides.)

Tip 3: Sometimes (in an effort to be “helpful”) the meeting organizers will flip off the lights, ostensibly so people can see your slides. This is a terrible idea! It can cause audience members to fall asleep. Don’t let that happen during your presentation. In most situations, dimming the lights a tiny bit is sufficient for easy reading of your bullets. (Rather than being unnecessarily confrontational, explain that you can’t see your notes…The planner has little choice but to adjust the lighting, Sneaky, but it works!)

Tip 4: Have specific strategies for drawing the audience’s attention away from the PowerPoint slides. For example, you could tell a story that directly relates to one of the ideas you’re communicating.

Tip 5: Don’t hold projector remote with both hands…gripping it like grim death.Tip

6: Take every opportunity to pause the projection when you’re not referencing a specific bullet point. This will cause people to refocus on your face. To be clear, I don’t mean turn off the projector, just the projection.

Here’s how: If you hit “B,” the screen fades to black. If you hit “W,” the screen fades to white. Repeat the keystroke to return to your presentation. (FYI: If – under pressure – you forget the keystrokes, simply place a piece of stout card over the projector lens.)

Tip 7: Rehearse with your PowerPoint slides beforehand. Always know what your next slide is going to be; so changing slides doesn’t break your rhythm.One final point…The commonest time for a keynote speaker, salesperson or industry educator to mentally lose their place in a speech occurs as they transition between one content block and the next.

One of the best things about using PowerPoint slides is that your blocks of content are pre-organized. And so you can rest confident in the knowledge that you won’t “forget your place”. (If necessary, you can simply glance at the new slide to be reminded of your next subtopic.) This leaves you free to focus on being your persuasive best so you can sell your product or motivate your team.