Great PPTs, Great Sessions, Happy Attendees (part 3 of 3 on PPTs)

Published by Steve Manicor | Topics: Training

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“Were you in that afternoon session on, ‘Marketing is not a Department?’ What a great session! The speaker shared great examples, he got the audience engaged and I left with a 4-page guide on Successful Event Marketing.”

This is the type of chatter you’d like to hear your attendees having between sessions at your event. It’s the kind of presentation that supports an attendee’s attitude for returning next year.

A good speaker, using a well-designed PowerPoint can make the difference between “good buzz” or attendees catching some good “zzzzzzzzz.”

This is the final of three articles on managing and creating presentation slides (something you, your speakers or attendees can probably relate to).

Part one:
Avoid Speaker Handout Hassles

Part two:
Making My Speakers Follow a PPT Template

As Chip and Dan Heath point out in their book entitled, Made to Stick, your story must be memorable. Having great PPT slides and session handouts can have a big influence on your speaker’s session. Think of what Simon Cowell (American Idol) often remarks to average contestants, “I don’t think anyone will remember this performance.” (I love his honesty!) Is this how you want your audience to react to sessions they’re attending?

You need to help your presenters create AWESOME presentations and USEFUL handouts your attendees will rave about.

This slide show does an excellent job of sharing the good versus the bad, when it comes to PPTs.

5 Tips in Creating Good PPTs (for the talk)

I’m borrowing these five points (and adding my comments in italics) from marketing guru, Seth Godin as posted on his Really Bad PowerPoint article. Feel free to share these along to your speakers.

  1. No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken. (I’m not sure many people can actually follow that rule so I coach our speakers to prepare their slides, then cut out 50% of the text. It usually lands them around 5 to10 words. Each slide should have a key point, chose your words carefully to support it. Avoid PPT templates as they actually lead you to a lot of bullet lists and wordy sentences.)
  2. No cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images (Try, most photos for a PPT cost a dollar. Do not use clip art.)
  3. No dissolves, spins or other transitions. (Frankly, they’re boring and attendees will not be impressed that you just learned the spiral in effect. Attendees are here to be inspired and to learn.)
  4. Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never use the sound effects that are built in to the program. Instead, rip sounds and music from CDs and leverage the Proustian effect this can have. If people start bouncing up and down to the Grateful Dead, you’ve kept them from falling asleep, and you’ve reminded them that this isn’t a typical meeting you’re running. (Sometimes a link to a short youtube video can be effective, but keep it short… under 20 seconds).
  5. Don’t hand out printouts of your slides. They don’t work without you there. (Create a separate handout that includes a summary of your presentation. No slides!  See below.)

What About the Handouts Then?

Maybe the reason your Session Handbooks (full of slides) gets tossed soon after the conference is because the handouts incomplete and not worthy of saving.

Do something better for your meeting attendees. Have your presenters (who are your subject matter experts) create a long-lasting and important impact with well-constructed and meaningful handouts. Not only do attendees get better information, you’ll probably save money by cutting down on the number of pages you need to print.

Here are just a few things when creating memorable handouts.

  • Create your handouts to stand alone – No slides!
  • Keep handouts to a few pages
  • Include extras such as a list of resources

Download this Omnipress resource for more information:

Best Practices for the Best Session Handouts


About Steve Manicor

Steve is Omnipress' Director of Business Development. He has over five years serving the meetings and training industry. He leads our product/service leadership and development teams. more

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[…] Great PPTs, Great Sessions, Happy Attendees (part 3 of 3 on PPTs) […]


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February 16th, 2009chris uschan - Omnipress says:

Here are a few companies/web sites that specialize in engaging PPTs — templates, video backgrounds, etc. — they specialize in transforming ppts into stories.

Twitter: chrisuschan


[…] Need some more insights to creating awesome presentations? You might also find this article helpful: Great PPTs, Great Sessions, Happy Attendees […]

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