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The Top 8 Tips for Effective PowerPoint Presentations

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Have you ever sat through a presentation where you felt the undeniable urge to put your head down, close your eyes, and catch a few minutes of sleep? You are not alone. Building an effective presentation might not come naturally to everybody, but these 8 golden rules will help you utilize PowerPoint to make your next PowerPoint presentation more compelling.

Slides Are Visual Aids – A slide in PowerPoint should have some text or a graphic that drives the presentation in the direction you want it to go. It should NOT be a complete script. Remember, your audience can read the slides for themselves. Stick to the key points and have them compliment your presentation, not run it for you.

Fonts and Colors Represent You – In the small amount of time you have to make an impression on your audience, one thing that they should not be thinking about is the ridiculous color scheme you’ve chosen or a font that is difficult to read. A simple type-face with an appropriately high contrast color scheme will allow your audience to focus on the content. Less is more in this case.

Introduction/Conclusion Slides – Introduce yourself, who you are, your company, and also introduce the presentation. Let the viewer see what they will leave the presentation with. A conclusion will remind them of where they’ve been. This is extremely helpful if you’re going to answer questions at the end. Drive your point home one more time at the very end to really solidify the objective of the presentation.

Put a Little of Yourself Into It – This is particularly important if you are a keynote speaker or if you’re going to give this presentation more than once. If your presentation is something that you would want to watch, so will your audience. Of course, not all presentations can be riddled with jokes or cartoons. Consider your audience, subject, and venue to make your presentation more comfortable.

Consider Your Venue – When you are tweaking your presentation, think about what sort of setting you are going to be presenting in. There should be a difference in your presentation when it’s in an auditorium with a huge screen and a microphone as compared to a projection in a boardroom on a monitor. The same goes for webinars, where everything is right in your audience’s face.

Organize and Practice – You should be able to give a presentation without having to read the slides. Again, they should complement the speech that you’re giving to your audience. The best way to do this is to organize your presentation so that there is a natural flow, this will help you be a better presenter. Your audience will also get more from the presentation. Practice it a head of time both in your head and out loud. This is extremely important. Looking at it quickly before everyone takes their seat is a recipe for disaster.

Steer Clear of Obnoxious Animations – There is nothing like watching a formal presentation about this quarter’s profits and seeing the bullet points on the slide spiral toward you followed by a wave effect and a gong sound effect. There are a lot of options for presenting a PowerPoint slide. They don’t all have to be used in one presentation. The same goes for noises and sound effects. Less is more.

Change It Up – The worst thing that you can do is present 25 slides worth of bulleted ideas. Something to keep in mind while formatting: Too many bullets will kill your presentation. Your goal is to ‘captivate your audience,’ not ‘hold them captive against their will’. A good presentation will be the appropriate mix of words, pictures, graphics, diagrams, and/or movie clips.

While PowerPoint is a great tool for building presentations, sticking to these simple rules will help prevent you from going overboard or putting people to sleep. Looking for help with any other Microsoft Office products or business software? Contact TMS at 1 (626) 737-2960!