Used wisely, Microsoft PowerPoint can be a great aid when delivering a presentation to an audience. PowerPoint presentations can also reside on your website as a resource for audiences to refer to long after your presentation is over.
Tips for an Effective PowerPoint
These tips will help maximize the impact of your PowerPoint presentation.
Make your presentation readable. Keep in mind the size of the presentation screen; it affects how readable your text is to your audience. Make the text large enough so that it is readable and even scannable for your audience. They will want to glance at and refer to it to keep track of what you are saying.
Keep it brief and use bullet points. Brevity allows you to keep the text size large enough to see from afar, and helps your audience quickly recall key points. Bullet points are easier to remember and follow than a 100-word paragraph. If your audience members are busy reading a 100-word paragraph, they are not listening to you.
Don’t read directly from your slides. The presentation should reinforce and demonstrate what you are saying—not repeat it. If you decide to read directly from your slides, be prepared for your audience to read ahead and tune you out. Afterall, they already know exactly what you are about to say.
Limit animation and transitions. Too many can be a distraction for your audience. Inconsistency in animation and transitions can also be jarring. Consistency and subtlety will go a long way.
Create a stronger message with images. Images can be more effective than text in making key points. For example, charts make data quicker to grasp at a glance. Opt for quality photography over clichéd clip-art images whenever you can. University Communications and Marketing Photo Services may be able to help you acquire quality images.
Allow time for questions and technical snags. Perhaps the laptop freezes up and the projector is showing everything upside down. Or perhaps one of your points inspires an interesting discussion about the merits and drawbacks of a particular idea. Either way, err on the side of creating a shorter presentation. You will be much more likely to discuss everything you intended to by anticipating these timing issues.
Test your presentation the day you are to give it. Perhaps a hyperlink you made is now going to a website that is down or under construction. Maybe you forgot to get rid of that placeholder text on the last slide. No matter how many times you have gone over it, make sure you get that “just one more time” in. If you are linking to an outside source, make sure you know how to navigate that website and how to use any multimedia tools used on it. If possible, test your PowerPoint using the equipment you will use for the actual presentation.