Everyone needs to give a great presentation every now and then whether it’s for your employer, as a sales pitch, to communicate a new idea, or to impart knowledge.
This seemingly simple task confuses a surprising number of people who frantically think “Oh, please somebody create my PowerPoint presentation for me!” not knowing where to start.
Here are a few ways to create a good PowerPoint presentation that is guaranteed to have an impact on your audience.
1. Plan It Out
When you are getting ready to put your PowerPoint slides together you need to have a system of organization in place so you can store relevant information as you find it such as research studies, statistical data, and so forth. Make a separate document or quite a few to store the information you want to include in your presentation. Before you sit down to make the slides use your research and rewrite shorter sentences to summarize from it what you have learned and what you wish to express. You can use various brainstorming techniques such as starting with the skeleton first (beginning, core points, and conclusion) or just constructing the slides from start to finish with particular emphasis on the main concepts and your personal innovation or addition.
The introduction and the conclusion may seem less important but it is imperative to capture the audience’s interest from the get-go and then give them a solid closing chapter so they are invested in what you have said. Bullet points as well as constructing a timeline can also indicate a well-planned presentation that maintains interest from the audience from start to finish.
2. PowerPoint Slide Decks
PowerPoint has many templates you can choose from and you can also purchase slide decks online that are designed bearing in mind a certain theme or purpose. Some slide decks may be suitable for more creative presentations perhaps for a new product idea while some may be more formal with neutral colors and graphics. Ascertain how formal your workplace is (or your audience) before choosing a slide deck to have a polished, uniform outlook on your entire presentation.
3. Use Captivating Stories
A trend amongst the most effective speakers in the world is that they use captivating sometimes personal stories to start their presentations regardless of the field they work in or the subject matter of the presentation itself. If you use a narrative-based approach you can enthrall the audience especially if it is part of the introduction and then hold their interest to the end.
4. Images Rather Than Writing
For obvious reasons, the human brain is wired to respond to pictorial images faster than text because text needs to be broken down and then processed by different parts of the brain working in synergy. When you are giving a presentation, you usually need to operate within a set time limit and people’s attention span is also limited typically to 45 minutes or less depending on the subject matter. Using images liberally in a presentation and any information that can be depicted in a chart or diagram is always better than writing it all out and leaving it for the audience to read and decipher. PowerPoint roadmap templates for example give a great pictorial representation of milestones, product plans, and lifecycles and use colors and icons to differentiate different points.
5. Incorporate Feedback
No great presentation uses one-way communication as its main tool and that includes even academic lectures. Make slides with interesting questions and activities to interest the audience and make the subject matter challenge them. You can also make a slide or two prompting discussion if relevant or letting the audience ask you questions.
6. Move From Very Important To Less Important
As mentioned earlier, people’s attention span is limited so always have your core concepts towards the beginning and middle of the presentation so you can make sure they’ve been heard and understood. Towards the end, the non-essential data or less important talking points can be revealed as they can be passively understood as well.
7. Never Underestimate Clarity
Impart clarity in all aspects of your presentation from the font, the use of color, and the written language, all the way to your delivery and execution of the material. While transitions or fly-ins for text may seem a lot of fun in videos and PowerPoint presentations, they can often confuse an audience so avoid flashy transitions or flashing icons. Use animation and special effects such as graphics in moderation and make them serve a practical purpose such as highlighting a key bit of information rather than just being there for aesthetic purposes.