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How to Addict Your Audience to Your PowerPoint

by Cliff Atkinson  |  
March 25, 2003

If PowerPoint were classified as a drug, which one would it be?

Judging by its bad reputation these days, most PowerPoints would probably be classified as narcotics, sedatives or depressants.

But with only minor changes to the molecular structure of your thinking, this coma-inducing software can become a powerful force to addict your audience to the mind-expanding content of your presentation.

To get started, just follow this three-step prescription:

Step 1: Go Cold Turkey

The first step to depressant-free presentations is to take the dramatic step of going "cold turkey" from PowerPoint's most toxic traits:

Stop using templates. Templates restrict, constrain and force information into a small part of the screen, and make the viewing experience visually boring and tedious. If templates really worked in media, you'd see them in film and television. You don't see them, so don't use them.

Trim the text. Many presentations read like a brochure. But that's what brochures are for. If the screen is filled with text, your audience will read it, and not pay attention to you. Delete the text, and saturate your screen with images and color.

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Cliff Atkinson is an author, speaker, and consultant who translates complex ideas into communications that get results at He is the author of the bestselling Beyond Bullet Points, published in four editions by Microsoft Press.

LinkedIn: Cliff Atkinson

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