How To Create an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint presentations are indispensable to both students and working professionals, and it's important that you know how to make your presentations effective - otherwise, all the effort you put into it will be for nothing.  The biggest mistakes people make when creating PowerPoint slides is that they get caught up in all the bells and whistles offered by the software.   Instead of creating an informative presentation, what they have is a demonstration of what PowerPoint can do. Remember, the purpose of a PowerPoint presentation is to inform.  Avoid the common mistakes people make when creating PowerPoint presentations by reading on ahead.

  1. Suit the style to match your purpose. Before getting started, decide if your PowerPoint presentation is meant to inform, to sell, or to entertain. Would a formal approach be more appropriate or should you keep things light-hearted and fun? The beauty of using PowerPoint is that you can create custom shows and tailor the slides and theme according to your audience. Whatever style you choose to use, keep the template and colors consistent with your presentation's objective.
  2. The key to an effective Power Point presentation is simplicity. Keep it simple and cut down on the clutter. Limit your fonts to two and make sure each slide only has one graphic or chart, excluding your company's logo or any recurring element in your PowerPoint theme.
  3. If you must use clip art or a graphic for decorative purposes, keep them small and make sure they are relevant to the text or topic. Keeping your audience's attention to the presentation's content is more important than keeping them visually entertained.
  4. One way you can keep your PowerPoint presentation simple and effective is to abide by the rule of 6: keep it less than 6 words per bullet, 6 bullets per image, and 6 word slides in a row.
  5. Use only one transition, and keep it consistent throughout the slideshow. One of the most difficult PowerPoint presentations to sit through are the ones where the presenter animates every word and every sentence so that they fly in, drop down, and explode with the appropriate sound effect. It's very distracting and it makes the audience lose track of what the speaker is talking about.
  6. If you'd like to emphasize a main point, leave it on the screen and let your audience read it.
  7. Provide handouts of your PowerPoint slides and include any additional information not included in the slides themselves. Your audience will appreciate this because it saves them the trouble of taking down notes throughout the presentation. Be sure you give the handouts in the end unless it's important that they have it with them throughout the presentation.

The bottom line is, when it comes to PowerPoint presentations the saying "less is more" holds true.  Keep everything simple and consistent, and make sure that every single element serves a purpose and is appropriate to your presentation's theme and style. That way, you'll get your audience's attention and get your point across.


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