• 7 Tips for a Professional PowerPoint Presentation

  • A PowerPoint presentation is a great way to visualize concepts, put across complicated ideas, and support project and work-related speeches. Well, this is assuming it’s a good presentation.

    A poorly planned presentation can actually have the opposite effect. Some folks make common mistakes such as using too much text in slides - which as we know does nothing but put the audience to sleep, overuse or choose the wrong graphics, or can be too verbose in their slides. All of these usually result in a sleepy or disinterested audience.

    These 7 tips will help you to capture your audience from start to finish, and outline the fundamental characteristics your PowerPoint presentation should have.

    1. SLIDES - Where It All Begins

    The ‘meat’ and content of your presentation falls within the slides. There’re a few key points to keep in mind when creating your slides.

    • Avoid plagiarism
    • Keep your slide design simple to avoid unnecessary distraction from the topic
    • Choose a simple, easy to read font with adequate sizing.
    • Include images and graphics but don’t overdo it - It’s a presentation, not a storybook
    • Don’t let your slide design interfere or hinder your message
    • Keep headers in Bold and clearly distinguishable from content
    • Leave room for your text to ‘breathe’. i.e Don’t clutter everything around an image or graphic
    1. CONSISTENCY - The Key

    Being consistent throughout your slide can mean the difference between an engaging presentation or a glorified, children’s coloring book. Using the correct font, size, and color throughout your presentation is essential to a good presentation that keeps the audience’s attention.

    • Use the same font face throughout all your slides
    • Use the appropriate font sizes - larger sizes for headers, etc.
    • Highlight headers and frame images
    • Choose colors wisely
    • BE CONSISTENT - maintain consistent sizes, colors, and fonts throughout the presentation 
    1. COLOR & CONTRAST - It Makes A Difference

    Designing a slide in just plain black and white is a surefire way to put your audience to sleep or have them lose interest. On the other hand, and as we mentioned before, overdoing the color selection to the point of inducing a seizure is equally as bad. Either way, these are two negative but avoidable outcomes.

    • You can have your slides in black and white but simply adding a few colored headings can keep the audience engaged - and awake.
    • Keep colors easy on the eyes and not too distracting.
    • Keep in mind the background your text goes against.
    1. HIGHLIGHTS - Bring Out Your Message

    The effective use of colors and highlights can help convey, and of course highlight, your message, with little to no distraction.

    • Overuse of colors can take away from the effect colors have on your presentation.
    • Use colors to highlight important points.
    • Choose colors that are easy to read. Red and blue are usually legible. 
    1. SIMPLICITY - It’s Your Best Friend

    Keep your slides simple! If you try to squeeze 1000 words into one slide, chances are the audience will not be interested.

    • Focus on keywords
    • Avoid lengthy paragraphs - actually, avoid paragraphs period!
    • Keep sentences short and concise
    • Where possible use bullet points, or numbered points
    • Always keep your text concise and to the point
    1. SUMMARY - It’ll Stick With The Audience

    Ending your slides with a summary of your text is always a great idea. It ties together the points you covered in a brief, concise point. Some people like to call it a ‘Take Home Message.’

    • Keep it straight and to the point
    • It acts as a summary of what you spoke about and presented
    • Use this tip at the end of a section before moving onto a new point. It’s not necessarily always suitable at the end of every single slide
    • Highlight the message so it stands out to the audience
    1. IMAGES - A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

    The use of images in your powerpoint presentation is essential in breaking the monotony, and keeping the audience engaged. Images are also very useful for solidifying certain points and effectively getting your message(s) across.

    • Avoid using images as a means of decorating your slides
    • Images can be used as examples of a point
    • Images can be used to help get a message across
    • They are great for visualizing and explaining concepts and ideas
    • Sites such as pixabay.com offer free, public domain images that adhere to copyright laws and policies
    • Some animated images and media can be used sparingly to convey certain points, explanations, and topics
    • Animation is guaranteed to stick with the audience and capture their attention 

    Well, there you have it. Follow these 7 steps and you’ll have a strong, professional PowerPoint presentation. Remember, keep the slides simple, keep your points concise and interesting, and once your PowerPoint presentation is complete, the final hurdle to overcome is in the delivery itself.

    Once you’ve prepared a strong presentation, that’s half the work done. Practice your delivery and learn your slides and points beforehand. Remember, the audience isn't there to judge you, they are there to take away what you’ve presented and learn from it. It’s your job to give to the audience, not to take away.