Nov 24 2016
Top tips: The golden rules of PowerPoint presentations

When giving a presentation, it may be tempting to add a lot of information to your PowerPoint slides and let them talk for you – but this is bad practice. Slides should be a visual aid and not a text document, they are there to prompt you, to illustrate your point and to trigger discussion.

How to create the perfect PowerPoint presentation

Brush up on your PowerPoint best practice and follow our top tips on delivering a successful presentation…

  • Prepare your presentation before you do your PowerPoint slides – the slides should support/illustrate your content – not serve as a script
  • Font should be easy to read but inconspicuous – avoid using too many fonts
  • Avoid more than 4 bullet points per page
  • Choose pictures wisely: one good picture is better than several poor images, ClipArt can look unprofessional
  • Fill whole pages with a single picture when you can: it looks more modern
  • Don’t always use bullet points, break down the information in other ways e.g. do’s and don’ts, pros and cons, 3 stages of interaction
  • Very limited number of words on a page
  • Use simple tables and diagrams – newer versions of PowerPoint make it really easy to insert diagrams/ charts
  • Don’t distort images by resizing – use the corner arrows or right click on the picture to edit it by changing the percentage
  • A rule of thumb is one slide every 2 minutes, but you can give a great presentation with no PowerPoint at all, so whether a slide really add to your presentation or not is the most important consideration
  • Don’t overanimate: it’s distracting and requires you to keep closer track of where you are in the presentation
  • Be careful of live hyperlinks/ embedded video that might not work: double check these and consider taking a screen shot (Ctrl + PrtSc – this can be cropped for the slide)
  • Make sure you know in advance whether the audience will have handouts/ there is an arrangement for you to send the slides afterwards
  • Proofread/ spellcheck carefully
  • Test your presentation beforehand, try to email in advance so it can be set up for you but take a backup on a memory stick/ your own laptop and printed handouts etc.
  • Share presentation afterwards when appropriate e.g. SlideShare, your website etc.
  • Finally, don’t use PowerPoint as a security blanket and you are less likely to misuse it

If you use PowerPoint presentations in your current role, or if you just want to gain the knowledge and tools to create interactive and memorable presentations, our one-day PowerPoint practical workshop could be for you.

Discover our other Communication courses to build your skills and confidence when giving presentations. 

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