In this blog post we offer some top tips for improving your presentations using PowerPoint (don’t have PowerPoint? Get in touch and we might be able to help!).
Never again will you present another drawn-out, lifeless, boring slideshow… give a little zing to your next presentation!
What is the goal of the presentation?
Write a script; a little planning can go a long way! The point of your slides is to illustrate and expand on what you are going to say to your audience. Too often people write their notes within the slides themselves… this is backwards! Plan first, PowerPoint second.
Unless you’re an expert at improvising, in which case you probably don’t need to do much planning!
Use a presentation structure
- No paragraphs, it is not an essay.
- Always have the screen matching what you’re saying.
- Bullet points can be revealed one at a time as you reach them.
- Use a lot of visuals i.e charts, graphs, images.
Pay attention to design
PowerPoint presentations offer lots of ways to add moving visuals to your slides, e.g fades, swipes, flashing text. Avoid the temptation to dress up your pages with too many of these effects, which will confuse readers – avoid clutter!
Always put dark text on light backgrounds so that your audience can read it and don’t use over complicated font styles. Pick a font that is large enough to see. You should usually not use a font below 24 point size, with the preference being 28 to 32 point size. For titles or headings, use 36 to 44 point size fonts. If the font is too small, no one will be able to read the words and the message will be lost.
Use Visuals Instead of Text
When possible, look for ways to use a visual, such as a diagram or photograph, to illustrate the point you are making instead of slide after slide of text. Audiences respond better to visuals that get them thinking. That being said, try not to use PowerPoint’s clip art; this has been used thousands of times!
Have a hook!
Open with something surprising or intriguing. Get your audience to sit up and take note.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to be comfortable when delivering your presentation is to actually feel prepared! There is no substitute for practice. All of the good speakers you have ever seen have practised the art of presenting many times. Practice with your computer and projection equipment if possible to get a feel for it. Practice everything you plan to say, but do not memorise it because a memorised speech doesn’t sound genuine. A good presentation sounds like a conversation.