Creating Effective PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint can be a useful tool for creating engaging presentations. A well-designed slide show serves as a visual aid and helps keep an audience’s attention. On the other hand, small mistakes that people commonly make with PowerPoint can cause it to be distracting rather than helpful.

Content

The content of any presentation should be geared toward the audience and setting in which it’s given. Keep the main goal of the speech in mind. Make sure that all content is relevant and points to the desired outcome, whether that is persuading, informing, or entertaining people. Use reputable sources for research. On the Internet, this generally means government and university websites.

Design

The visual design of a PowerPoint presentation is an important part of using it effectively. Text should be done in a simple font that is large enough for the audience to read. Lettering that is too complicated or curvy will be difficult to distinguish. The colors that are used should match one another, be pleasing to the eye, and easy to read. Unity of design, or using the same design theme throughout a slide show, helps to make the presentation flow from one slide to another. You can also add images for visual interest. There are many websites that offer free PowerPoint templates and backgrounds.

Preparation

It’s always a wise idea to be fully prepared for public speaking. Planning ahead and practicing will help everything to run smoothly. With PowerPoint, this means practicing the entire presentation out loud using the slides. It’s also a good idea to practice in front of another person and ask for feedback, especially the first time you plan to use PowerPoint. Also, know how to use the equipment that will be available, whether you’ll be using your laptop or a projector remote to advance your slides. You should be able to navigate between slides easily.

Giving the Presentation

Make sure the equipment you’re using, whether a computer rental or your own laptop, has PowerPoint installed. If your presentation requires sound equipment or a microphone, make those arrangements in advance. Adjust your projector carefully to ensure the best focus and light levels. One of the most common mistakes that people make when doing a PowerPoint presentation is simply reading the information that’s on the slides. This is very boring for the audience. The slide show should be used as an outline or guide for the speech. Only include important points, and elaborate on them verbally. Timing is another important concept. Don’t speak too fast or too slowly, stay within the time limit, and be sure to switch slides at appropriate points so that it isn’t too distracting.