How to make great presentations with PowerPoint?
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Some think PowerPoint is old school, and we have been using it for a while haven't we? But It is still the first choice for presentation in any meeting or event. Since it comes standard in a Microsoft office package,most people know how to do the basic in PowerPoint. Add the templates, the animations, options to download additional goodies, and boom, you can have a professional presentation without the sweat. If you have someone who can add visually captivating graphics to the presentation, even better! But while building a presentation, we can sometimes get lost in our own vision. Here are tips for you to make a great presentation for your audience.
-> Keywords yes, entire concepts, NO!
Your PowerPoint presentation needs to be thought of as a Support to your Oral Presentation. Minimize the full paragraphs, and stick to short bullet points using mostly keywords, or up to 5 words sentences. Long texts will have your audience yawning on the first slide!
--> Mix and Match a few words with visual aids!
Great professional photos, short engaging videos, and animation will keep your audience engaged and your content memorable.
While you don't want to make your audience dizzy with everything on the slide being animated and words flying from all sorts of directions, it's easy to come up with a pattern. Maybe have your 5 short bullet points on the right and a cool related graphic fly in from the left. Add a quick subtle but suspense sound during the animation. Stick with this template of animation for slides that have the same format.
Use graphs to showcase an otherwise boring set of statistics, use photos to evoke emotion, use video to showcase the how to's.
--> Don't forget your marketing strategy
Your marketing strategy is always tied into your niche, and your niche is a direct result of your brand. Consistency is key. While you may be providing new information, a new service, or new product or an announcement, remembering your brand is essential.
Branding a presentation starts with a template design. You can customize a template's color, add lines, logo etc. Having a presentation match the look and feel of your website is often a good idea. The bottom line is you want consistency across the board. If you are a colorful company, that uses IMPACT style font on everything and bold colors, you will not be using a minimalist, grey background color with small and refined calligraphy style font, with a flute type music in the background of your presentation. Does that paint a picture?
--> Keep it professional
If you want to open the presentation with a joke to break the ice, OK! But be careful here. Always opt for neutral/cute with little impact so you don't offend anyone. And do not make the joking a habit unless you are a stand up comedian.
A lot jokes throughout a presentation comes off as insecurity and unprofessional. Your audience will pickup on the fact that you are covering something up, overcompensating for something, and then you may lose credibility. Following that, you will see people engage with their phones, or with each other, but not you.
-->> Don't forget the final Call-to-Action
Your presentation should have a nice flow of thoughts, leading to what action you want your audience to take. Even though some presentations can be for information only, say within a company for their employees, there is always a call to action.
Creating a quick "Main Categories" to be covered in the beginning of the presentation, can be beneficial in leading you to not lose sight of the punchline.
-->> Remember to engage outside the screen
The first tip on this post was to use keywords on your presentation. But remember, you need to articulate concepts concisely and to the point too. Engaging your audience outside of what is on the PowerPoint screen, is what makes the presentation go from good to great!
-->> Don't forget to use "Presenter View"
PowerPoint has a tool called Presenter View. This is located in the "Slide Show" tab of PowerPoint. Included in the Presenter View is an area for notes, a timer/clock, and a presentation display. Presenters like to use this tool to bring together what their audience is seeing with their written notes.
An added tip- At the start of the presentation, press CTRL + H to make the cursor disappear. Hitting the "A" key will bring it back if you need it!
-->> Practice makes perfect!
Make sure to practice your presentation a few times. You might find that the presentation view feature is not for you. Maybe, the keywords in your slideshow will trigger a more detailed speech without you having to look at anything else, but your audience.