How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation: a Strategy that Always Works
At a certain moment of studying, every student wonders how to make a PowerPoint presentation on a certain topic and for a certain audience. From that moment, it becomes clear that gathering and organizing the written material is very different from presenting its visual form to a group of people effectively. While a presentation with slides can be more attractive and engaging for the viewers than a printed paper, the PPT content is not always understood and memorized well. So what makes PowerPoint presentation ideas memorable and impressive? Let us analyze the basic elements of the presentation and see what it takes to create a successful one.
What is PowerPoint Presentation: the Main Purpose
To be able to create a decent scientific or business presentation in PowerPoint, you first need to learn what PowerPoint presentation is and why it is important at all. A visual presentation of any material is made to achieve the following goals:
- Deliver the key message;
- Provide evidence to the main ideas;
- Entertain and interest the audience with the visual material;
- Draw the public attention to one’s research or project.
Based on these goals, you can analyze your own target audience and predict the PowerPoint presentation outline you will require. For instance, you need to ask yourself:
- What is the information you need to present?
- What level of formality does this topic require?
- Is the target audience familiar with the subject of your discussion?
- Is it acceptable to use professional jargon and terminology for this sort of material?
- What can draw the attention of this particular audience?
By making such an analysis, you will have a clear picture of what to focus on during your presentation process. To make it more efficient, make sure to use the PowerPoint presentation tips provided below.
Tips for Creating a PowerPoint Presentation
- Choose a theme
On top of all possible tips for creating a PowerPoint presentation, we will definitely focus on the suggestion to choose one key theme for all your slides that reflects the style and tone of your material properly. If you are making a presentation for your class, you should focus on the professor’s instructions and the PowerPoint presentation rubric you received from them. In case your presentation is being designed for an audience outside of the classroom, think about the interests and expectations of the people who will view it and choose the theme based on this factor.
- Elaborate the topic
In some cases, you will be assigned one of the PowerPoint presentation topics allowed in class, while in others, you will need to formulate the topic on your own. Either way, it is important to work in the sphere that intersects with your interests, because your own engagement in the topic will determine the extent of your own dedication and passion. Needless to say, these factors always contribute to the overall quality of the final PPT.
Once you have decided on the topic, it is time to gather the material on it. Find everything that relates to the chosen theme and narrow it down to a few pages of the most informative content. Then, highlight the key ideas you would like to focus on: they will serve as the carcass of your presentation. At this point, it is good to make an outline that will embrace the main issues to include in your PPT.
- Start writing
After all the research and arrangement of all the information you have found, it is time to reflect on it and shape up your PPT. After the presentation title and its short plan, you need to introduce the topic to the audience. The opening part of your presentation should be short, clear, and convincing. Just like in an essay, your introduction should contain a thesis statement, only the limit of the slide does not allow to include too much discussion. Notably, it is advisory to fit your opening paragraph into one slide, so do not let your introduction drag for too long. Put your topic into context and make a brief overview of the presentation’s goals. If you are not sure how it should be done, check the PowerPoint presentation examples available online.
- Follow your outline
Remember to highlight the key ideas that your work will cover. You can now take these ideas and devote 3-4 slides to each of them. However, keep in mind that you are not making an essay: the format of the slides requires eliminating lengthy sentences and complex paragraphs. In contrast, you need to list the short theses relating to every particular idea, and the rest of the information can be included in the speaker’s notes. Importantly, the viewers should not be forced to read all the time: the concise pieces of information should be easily comprehended from the screen.
Once the body of your presentation is ready, it is time to finish it with a conclusion. As a rule, the concluding part takes up the last few slides of any presentation, but not more than 4. Every slide in the finishing part should refer to the ideas mentioned earlier and contribute to the thesis statement from the introduction. Some also ensure that the information is memorized by the audience, checking the comprehension with a set of questions or a small quiz on the topic at the end of the presentation.
- Provide evidence
While in essays and research papers the typical evidence consists of sentences from various relevant sources, a PPT usually applies visual information, such as pictures, photographs, tables, charts, graphs, illustrations, etc. Find everything you can on your topic and sort out only the visuals that are appropriate for the audience you are writing for. Think about the mood, level of formality, age group of the audience, and other factors that define the required content. Based on this analysis, choose the material that will be the most appropriate for the people you are presenting the information to.
Writing a PowerPoint Presentation: Useful Suggestions
Besides working on the structure and content, there are also other aspects of writing a PowerPoint presentation that needs to be considered. Below are some of the most common elements of presentation writing to pay attention to.
It goes without saying that your presentation needs to be readable even for the people who sit in the furthest rows. That is why choosing a font is a responsible step that should not be overlooked. Pick a font that is bold enough, avoiding the ones with thin and curvy lines. The general rule here is: the simpler, the better, and the intricate elements of some elaborate font may be distracting or impossible to decode from distance.
Modern technologies allow choosing any kind of palette for your digital presence, which is surely great but adds responsibility in terms of making the right choice. As a rule, the palette for the background and general information is neutral and made with pastel colors in soft tones. In contrast, the information that needs to be accentuated, such as the key arguments and headlines can be highlighted with brighter colors or more saturated hues. However, not all the colors go well together, so it is better to consult the designers’ color schemes and choose the combinations that are the most harmonious. Use your creativity and do not be afraid to be different: an original approach is always better than the preset templates, familiar to everyone in the room.
In addition to the major parameters mentioned earlier, several small nuances shape the overall impression of the presentation. Knowing these nuances and checking them in your work process is the main condition for a successful result.
- Plan your time. Try presenting at home, in front of your close people, or front of a mirror. Use your mobile to count the exact number of seconds you spend on every slide. Make sure that the time is divided equally between the different slides and that the interval of switching the slides does not exceed 1 minute. Do the same for the automatic slide switching: set the timing for the slides to change synchronically with your speech.
- Rehearse. It is impossible to give a coherent and convincing speech from the first attempt, so you need to have a couple of rehearsals before your presentation. Pay special attention to the intonation and stressing: your speech has to be clear, comprehensive, and loud enough.
- Proofread. The small mistakes and typos happen all the time, but you would not like them to distract your audience from the information you present, so correct them while you can.
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