Simple Steps for Creating Better Presentations

You have a presentation to create. The only problem is that everybody’s PowerPoint presentations look the same.

Been in that position? If so, I’ve got great news for you! Creating professional, unique presentations can be much easier than you think, especially when you have the right tools and graphics. Best part is, what I’m about to share with you costs you very little in terms of money. The most it cost you is your time to put it together. (You can always outsource your project and have someone else create it, at your expense. Or follow these eight simple steps to success.)

Creating slides that get the viewer’s attention is not about how much you can fit on the screen. It’s about using the space on your slides effectively.

Step 1: Start by outlining your presentation.

Take time to outline your presentation (What topic are you going to cover?) Before you begin to create your slides you must outline what you are going to talk about? Doing so can save time and help you give a more clear and effective presentation. (Stick to one topic per presentation. You can always branch out from your main topic as long as it is a related subject, or within the same niche.)

You can create your outline by typing a slide title and bullets points for your main topic on each slide. But you can also use the Outline panel to type your entire presentation outline in one window and add slides to your presentation as you go.

Step 2: Create an effective presentation

Minimize the number of slides. To maintain a clear message and to keep your audience attentive and interested, keep the number of slides in your presentation to a minimum.

Know your audience. Know what gender and age group you will be presenting to. Don’t get too technical if you are not sure your audience will understand what you are saying. Also, don’t talk too fast or assume your audience is on the same mental skill level as you.

Step 3: Font Style

Choosing the right font style is not that difficult. Don’t go for fancy or decorative; choose a font that people can read clearly, such as Helvetica or Arial. You need to get your message across. Avoid narrow fonts, such as Arial Narrow, and avoid fonts that include fancy edges, such as Times.

Keep your text simple by using bullet points or short sentences. Leave plenty of white space.

Use bullets or short sentences, and try to keep each to one line; that is, without text wrapping.

You can remove articles such as “a” and “the” to help reduce the word count on a line.

Professional document designers know that using a single font face for an entire document is always a tasteful and safe design choice. Two fonts are a better choice, when used carefully for contrast. Every Office theme defines two fonts — one for headings and one for body text. They can be the same font (used everywhere) or two different fonts.

Step 4: Choosing a Theme.

Choose an appealing, consistent template. You don’t want the background or design to detract from your message.

For help with Themes Visit:

Use high contrast between background color and text color. Automatically set the contrast between a light background with dark colored text or use dark background with light colored text.

To learn more about how you can use themes to automatically set a visually satisfying contrast level, see All about themes, Quick Styles, cell styles, and background styles.

Step 5: Check for Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

Check your spelling and grammar. To earn and maintain the respect of your audience, always check the spelling and grammar in your presentation. There is nothing worse than losing your audiences confidence if they see that you do not check your work or have someone proof read your presentation. Your presentation is about you being a professional in your field of expertise. It’s all about confidence with your audience; don’t lose that because you got sloppy and could not be bothered to spend the time proof reading your work.

Step 6: Use video and audio to convey your message more effectively.

Dynamic content, such as a brief video that illustrates an important point, is a great way of engaging your audience. Using audio or video helps convey your message. It can also help you keep your slides clean and approachable, such as by adding recorded narration to slides when sending your presentation to others to view on their own.

Step 7: Use graphics to emphasize key points

Use graphics to help tell your story. Don’t overwhelm your audience by adding too many graphics to a slide; be creative but not overly artistic. Graphics can add expression to your slide and help get a point across visually.

A well-chosen chart or diagram can often convey much more to your audience than boring bulleted text.

Step 8: Use animations and transitions wisely.

Having text and graphics appear on-screen just when you need them can be a nice touch. However, using too much animation can distract from your presentation. It can lead to your audience not hearing your words for being distracted by the animation.

For effects that emphasize your points without overwhelming your audience, limit animation to key points, and use consistent animation choices throughout the presentation.

Most importantly, don’t crowd your slides. Only include elements that balance the overall appearance of the slide and emphasize the points you’re trying to make.