Different Types of Presentations
There are many types of presentations and even the best people can have bad presentation days. And, very often, the presenter themselves can suffer as much from a poor PowerPoint presentation as those who are listening to them. Therefore, we have listed below our eight top tips to perk up your presentations and ensure they go smoothly.
Alternatively, you can order an edit PowerPoint template from Great-Writings.com.
8 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations
The following PowerPoint instructions for beginners were prepared by our expert writers.
- Prepare your script
Careful planning can really pay off. The majority of presentations are created using PowerPoint software (or sometimes some other presentation-making software) and without any clear goal or plan.
However, the purpose of presentation slides is to expand and illustrate what a presenter is saying to their audience. Therefore, it is important to know in advance what you mean to say and then to work out how to show this in visual form.
It is also essential to ensure your presentation script adheres to the conventions of good storytelling. This means it should have a start, middle point, and ending, and a clearly defined curve that keeps building up to some climatic point. Your aim should be to get your audience to appreciate every slide and keen to know what is coming next. Where possible, you should keep your audience eager for more.
- Present points one at a time
Arrange your PowerPoint slides so that one idea or point - only one - is on display at any time. It is also possible to reveal bullet points one by one when you are ready for them. You can put charts on the following slide to refer to when you reach the moment you want to discuss the information displayed on them. As a presenter, it is up to you to control how information flows so that you are always in tune with your audience and vice versa.
- Avoid paragraphs
One failing in a lot of presentation PowerPoint slides occurs when the creator tries to cram every word from their accompanying speech onto slides in large chunks of text.
In reality, slides are meant to illustrate or support a presentation. They should not contain the entire presentation. Their purpose is to reinforce and underline what the presenter is saying while delivering their presentation. Hence, blocks of text - preferably in paragraphs - belong in the accompanying script. Software like PowerPoint and other programs that perform the same function have features for displaying notes only on the presenter's own screen (without being visible to an audience). Or you can use a separate typed sheet, note-cards, or just rely on memory.
- Attend carefully to the design of your presentation
Most presentation software programs, including PowerPoint, have a variety of mechanisms for adding visual enhancements - such as "flash" - to slides. These include text "flashing," swipes, fades, and a whole host of other annoying features that are extremely easy to add.
Try and resist any temptation to embellish your slides with irritating effects. Instead, focus on the basics and keep the design simple:
- Whether you get PowerPoint presentation templates from us or create your own presentations, remember it is best to choose a plain font for the body text (for example, Arial, Calibri, or Helvetica are good options). These are easy to read on a screen.
- Save fancy fonts just for the headers on your slides. Even then, use them only if they can be seen/read easily. Fancy fonts like art nouveau, calligraphy, flowers, futuristic, German blackface, psychotic handwriting are not easy to read and should be used only for prominent headers in the top part of slides. Even better if you can confine yourself to a stylish font such as Baskerville or Georgia.
- Add darker text to light backgrounds.Once again, it is because this is easier to see/read. If a dark background is absolutely necessary, e.g., if the organization you work for uses this type of background - do your best to ensure you use fairly light text e.g. cream, white, a lightish grey, or a pastel color. Additionally, it may be an idea to increase the size of your font by a few points.
- Text should be aligned to the right or left margin. It is more difficult to read text that is centered and it does not look very professional. When all text is aligned to the left or right side, it looks better and is easier to read.
Keep your slides uncluttered.Try to keep slides to a heading, some bullet points, and perhaps one image. When there is more than this on a slide, you are likely to lose the attention of your audience while they struggle to take it all in.
- Be sparing in your use of images
Our next tip on how to make a PowerPoint presentation concerns the use of images. This subject gives rise to two different opinions. Some people think images make a presentation more visually interesting and that they are good for engaging an audience. Others believe that images are a distraction and are unnecessary.
Indeed, when it comes to PowerPoint presentations, there is a certain merit to both these viewpoints. So, possibly, the best way forward is to go somewhere in the middle i.e. use images if they add any value, add anything important to the presentation, or help to solidify an abstract idea or point.
Staying on that same subject, you should avoid using the clipart that is in-built in the PowerPoint software at all costs. Every member of your audience is likely to have seen everything in this program up to and including the 2003 version countless times. Therefore, the images are now nothing more than tired cliches and these, as you probably know, are best left out of a presentation. Later versions from MS Office 2007 and onwards and other presentation programs have some less familiar clipart. However, this will soon become just as over-used and, in any case, the clipart concept is becoming outdated. Its novelty value has worn off and it is no longer new.
- Think beyond your computer/projection screen
Always keep in mind that a slide show is just a part of your overall presentation, and it is not even the main component. You and what you have to say are the center of attention during your presentation, irrespective of how riveting your PowerPoint slides are.
- Put questions to your audience
In terms of how to make a PowerPoint presentation interesting, you should find our next tip helpful. The practice of asking questions is a great way of engaging an audience; questions generate interest and give rise to curiosity. Therefore, you should ask your listeners plenty questions. Create tension - ask a question and leave the audience in suspense before you show the slide that has the answer. Probe your audience's knowledge and then fill in the gaps in their knowledge. If it is possible or appropriate, set in motion something of a question-and-answer session where you are the questioner.
- Modulate your voice
By now, you should know how to create a PowerPoint presentation step by step, so here is one last piece of advice. When delivering a presentation, try speaking in the way you would to a good friend and not as though you are reading from notes or note-cards. If you find it difficult to maintain a personable and lively tone during a presentation, try to fit in a few practice sessions beforehand.