How to Create More Effective PowerPoint Presentations

There's nothing worse than having to sit through a boring presentation. Unless, of course, you're the one presenting. Many presenters use  Microsoft PowerPoint to share information and data more easily. But are these presentations engaging with the desired audience?

There are simple ways to pump up a PowerPoint, like adding relevant images, themes, and better organization. Making sure your PowerPoint presentation is more engaging can even help you feel more confident in your presenting skills. Here are some easy ways to help make that happen:


The use of visual elements makes a big difference. Audiences are more engaged when there's an image, video, or GIF within a presentation. Graphs and other images that show data or trends do a much better job showing outcomes than simply telling them. Videos can also help to get a point across in a more engaging way, and they're easy to embed in PowerPoints.

Even just choosing something as simple as a theme for the presentation can make it look better. You can do that by opening a new presentation and choosing from the designs shown there. 


Or you can open a blank presentation, then go to the Design tab on the ribbon. Choose from the selection. 

Descriptive Headers

One of the biggest mistakes people can make in presentations is using headers incorrectly. Headers are the first thing people will read on the slide, and you need to make sure they are relevant to what will be represented.

On the other hand, you can't have headers that are too long. Headers that are too long take away from the information that will be listed in the slide, making it sound redundant. For example, instead of "Goals", try "Goals for the Next 3 Months". Instead of "Revenue Gained in the Last Year", try "Revenue for 2017"


Another way to make a better presentation is to make sure the layout makes sense. Be sure your presentation has the right flow between each slide. Creating better organization throughout the PowerPoint will not only help viewers follow along, but it can also help the presenter keep track of what comes next. When putting it together, you will know where each slide is in the sequence and can easily jump around should you need to.

A quick trick to help keep layouts flowing is the Hide Slide option. For example, if you have a slide in the presentation that is ultimately unnecessary, you can easily hide it without getting rid of the slide altogether. Right click on the slide and select Hide Slide. A slash will appear on the slide number, meaning it is now hidden and won't be seen when presenting. 

Easy Reading

Something a lot of presenters don't think about when creating their PowerPoints is how the slides will look from the viewers' perspective. This can cause two things to happen: Unreadable and Overcrowded slides.

Going back to the design features we first spoke of, a lot of the themes have fonts that go with them to create a cohesive look. When choosing the design theme for your presentation, check the font first and make sure it is legible and easy for your readers to see. 

Getting the most information on a slide is an error presenters unknowingly make. Overcrowding slides makes them difficult to read and follow along with. You can remedy this by splitting the information into two slides. Be sure they are one right after the other to keep with a consistent flow. Also don't be afraid to leave off information, but have it at the ready if you think someone would ask. Notes can be added at the bottom of any slide.

Click Notes and then type in the box that pops up. 

You can view the notes in Presenters View while presenting. Those seeing the presentation will not see the notes, only the slide.

These are just a few tips to help you become a better presenter when using PowerPoint. New Horizons offers great training to give you more experience in PowerPoint and to build up your presenting skills. The best way to have a great presentation is to be a great presenter. Get full training with our Art of Effective Presentations course.

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NH Learning SolutionsDebra Novara

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