Creating an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

March 24, 2011 at 7:10 am Leave a comment

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You need to create a presentation and don’t know where to begin; or possibly you already have a presentation, but it needs to be updated to improve its effectiveness. This does not have to be a difficult task if you first focus on a few basics.

Before you even begin to start putting your PowerPoint together, think about the following:

  • Your audience
  • Your purpose
  • How you can tell a compelling story that viewers can relate to – i.e.- if you are selling a product or solution explain how it was successful for one of your other customers
  • Knowledge on your topic/product/offering – the more you know about what you are presenting, the more confident you are
  • Presentation time allotted

Once you have all this figured out, jot down a summary of what your presentation will cover and go back to it while you are putting together your presentation. This will help you stay focused on what you are trying to achieve. Just remember, through any presentation, your story needs to accomplish three goals:
1) Define the issue
2) Present the challenge
3) Explain how you will solve the problem and what benefit is in it for the viewer

Example:
Introduce the technical aspects of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and show how to streamline your upgrade/migration to SharePoint 2010. Cover recommended migration approaches, key pitfalls to avoid, and tips to maintain consistent service levels in order to more effectively transfer content onto SharePoint 2010. Include a demonstration will showcase easy to use migration tools that give organizations the ability to conduct a seamless, fully mapped transfer of legacy content to SharePoint 2010 . Go over benefits of upgrading/migrating to SharePoint 2010 and give a call to action.

Now it is time to put your PowerPoint together. Remember, you should be the focus of your presentation – not your PowerPoint. Your PowerPoint should be a visual enhancement to the information you are presenting – it should not be a distraction. Here are a few tips to help you out with this:

  • Chose a theme and stick with it. This includes slide consistency – keep your fonts and colors consistent throughout your presentation
  • Make sure your PowerPoint is readable – try not to use fonts smaller than 28 points
  • Try to avoid animations, sound bytes and elaborate transitions
    PowerPoint 2010 offers new, dynamic transitions such as motion paths and animation effects that look similar to graphics you’d see on TV. These may be captivating for certain presentations, but can also distract viewers
  • Use appropriate images when necessary and be sure they are large enough and formatted correctly with original dimensions. Stretched and/or pixellated images present a very unprofessional look
  • Slides content should summarize your points – not be read word for word. Use the 5/5 rule of thumb – 5 lines with 5 words per line
  • Minimize switching between programs – i.e. – pulling up a demo or a web page
    This can be distracting and possess a threat for technical malfunctions. If you need to switch to a demo, be sure you have tested the environment several times and always have a backup plan for unforeseen technical difficulties

Overall, your presentation should focus on your main points. It should be well planned out and each slide should flow into the next. A good PowerPoint is just a visual aide that helps your audience better understand your topic.

Lastly, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Before presenting to your audience, have someone else watch your presentation and give you feedback.

For a FREE tutorial on PowerPoint 2010, click here

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