Monday, December 16, 2013

Tips for an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

Making an effective PowerPoint presentation is an acquired skill, and one that can help you succeed in your career. It's important to make sure you know what is necessary to deliver a good PowerPoint presentation before you step in front of a room filled with an expectant audience. Otherwise, whatever important information you present will likely be lost on your listeners.

Write a Script
A little planning goes a long way. Since the point of your slides is to illustrate and expand upon what you are going to say to your audience, you should first plan what you intend to say. Then, figure out how to visualize and present it in PowerPoint.

No Paragraphs
Your slides are the illustrations for your presentation, not the presentation itself. They should underline and reinforce what you are saying as you give your presentation. Save the paragraphs of text for your script.

One Point at a Time
Plan your presentation so just one new point is displayed at any given moment. What should be on the screen is the thing you are talking about. Your audience will almost instantly read each slide as soon as it’s displayed. If you immediately display the next four points you plan to make, the audience will be three steps ahead of you waiting for you to catch up rather than listening with interest to the point you are making.

Avoid clutter
A headline, a few bullet points, and maybe an image. Anything more than that and you risk losing your audience as they work to sort out the information on the slide.

Ask Questions of Your Audience
Engage in a little Q&A with your audience. Questions arouse interest, pique curiosity, and involve audiences. Build tension or anticipation by posing a question and letting your audience think a moment before moving to the next slide with the answer.

With a little preparation and attentiveness to the needs of your audience, you will effectively deliver the important information from your next PowerPoint presentation.

David Schuchman


  1. Probably the best one-sentence reduction I've ever been given for using a presentation deck is this: The deck's job is to be a conversation piece and your job is to have the conversation.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Brian. That is a terrific summary statement.

  2. How many slides should I have for a 60 minutes presentation?

    1. Thank you for your question, Alex. While your exact points to present and amount of interactive discussion time are dependent on your topic and audience, I would use 12 slides as a guideline.

  3. Great advice David. This is a skill I have always been lacking in that I should have honed long ago.


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