How to Facilitate Using PowerPoint

This is a co-post with How to Create a Slideshow in PowerPoint.  I again had some assistance from the participants in the trainingzone group 'PowerPoint Users' in contributing to the content in this post.

(These tips are also relevant for working with other presentation software.)
  1. Be familiar with your slides.
  2. Print out the 6 to a page handouts page to keep track of what is coming next.
  3. Before you start, put up your 'busiest' slide and go to the back of the room.  If it is unreadable, delete it.  Now move to the next busiest and continue the process.  You are better off explaining the content verbally than insulting your audience with avoidably unreadable content.
  4. Also, before you start, check that the slides fit on the screen/wall on which they are being projected.
  5. If available, a wireless presenter is very useful.  Otherwise, the arrow keys on the keyboard can be more accurate and easier to find than the buttons on your mouse.
  6. If you spontaneously want to blank out your slideshow, press the letter b on the keyboard (for black, the same works with w for a white screen). Press any letter key to display the current slide again.
  7. Avoid using a laser pointer - the quivering of the 'dot' on the screen makes you appear to be nervous.  (Especially if you are nervous.)  Instead, flap your arm near the relevant content, and tell them what you are referring to.
  8. Don’t 'read out' the exact words on the slide unless you are quoting or doing so for effect.
  9. Talk about the slide while it is up; and talk about other stuff if you like.
  10. Don’t talk about a slide people cannot see.  If it is important, it may be worth going back to the earlier slide.
  11. And finally, you can look at the screen to refer your audience to specific content (such as a location on a map) and early on just to check that the projector is working.  Other than that, look at the computer/laptop monitor, which should be positioned in front of you.
    The most important thing is that you are the facilitator.  The slides are only there to support you.  If you need to depart from the 'script', press 'b' to blank the screen and get on with verbally facilitating.