Using Excel in a Presentation
Recently as I have been teaching in a number of companies I have seen quite a few presenters doing a presentation by showing a full screen of a Microsoft Excel document.
Let me say this just one time: Never never NEVER use an Excel program as your presentation. Spreadsheets were not designed to be presented on a big screen, and if you do try and present an Excel document in a presentation you will lose your audience within five seconds.
- Your audience are going to have real difficulty reading the text as it will be too small
- there is far too much data on a spreadsheet for you audience to see what is on the screen and listen to you at the same time.
- It looks terrible.
- It makes you look unprofessional as it gives the impression you have not tried very hard to make your presentation.
- It simply does not work. Your audience will never remember the data you want them to remember.
What to do instead
If you are going to present data, then pick out the most important figures and put those on an individual slide. Doing this enables your audience to focus on the figures you are talking about at that time. The fine details can be put into a handout and given to your audience at the end of your presentation
Alternatively, if you have a small audience – say 5 to 15 people – do not use a screen at all and take the time to make enough copies of your data sheets and hand them out to the room. This will allow your audience to make notes on the sheet and this will help them to remember the important points in your presentation.
Using a full screen image on an Excel file demonstrates that you do not care about your audience or even your message. If you are preparing a presentation that involves a lot of data, then you really do need to think carefully about how you will present that data in a clear, easy to understand way.
Always think about your audience first – they are the most important people in the room. Not your coworkers or boss.