How to Create a Great PowerPoint Presentation

by Contributor; Updated September 26, 2017
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A great PowerPoint presentation doesn't require fancy graphics or effects, but it does require your ability to tell a comprehensive and easy to follow story. Make a presentation that is streamlined and simple. The slides are your vehicle for moving the story forward and reinforcing important information.

Step 1

Create your presentation with your audience in mind. This means being aware of who your audience is so that your presentation speaks to them and takes into account their backgrounds. Mold your presentation to fit the kinds of information they might be seeking. Research the audience before creating your presentation.

Step 2

Give your audience an easy to follow narrative. Tell them how you plan to proceed, what information you're going to cover and what you hope they'll learn from your presentation. Start out the presentation by presenting them with a problem, issue or question that you will address. You may create an outline on a beginning slide that serves as a table of contents for each part of your presentation.

Step 3

Think of your PowerPoint presentation as a tool to supplement what you have to say. The PowerPoint shouldn't be your whole presentation. Use the slides to reiterate main points, key issues, and important facts and figures. Limit the amount of text you use on each slide so that the slides are clear and easy to read. Use bullet points to draw attention to key information.

Step 4

Don't overuse animation and motion. Too much can overwhelm the slide and make your presentation too distracting for the audience. Stick to a streamlined and consistent presentation. An overly animated transition with a wacky effect can detract from the importance of your presentation.

Step 5

Use the slide notes. Type up the important points in the slide notes so that you can refer to them during the presentation. This ensures that you don't forget key information. Take a second to look at the slide notes if you do have a moment where you lose your train of thought, and you need a moment to get back on track. Having these notes also helps you prepare and rehearse your presentation.

Step 6

Rehearse your presentation. Prepare many days in advance so that you can rehearse over and over again. Knowing your presentation and what you're going to say without any doubt or worry will make you confident when you stand in front of the audience. Knowing your presentation well and knowing exactly when to transition to the next slide gives you more opportunity to connect with your audience and make strong eye contact while you give the speech so that you don't have to constantly look down at your notes.

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