Creating a PowerPoint presentation for an office meeting can feel like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. By following a few important tips, you can create a presentation that is informative and engaging. The first important task is to determine what the presentation will be about. By sketching out the important points you want to discuss, this will give you a feel for how many slides you will need.
Follow these eight steps to a great presentation:
- Keep the Focus on You: When you are speaking, you want the audience paying attention to you and not trying to decipher what is happening on the slide. The point is to keep the slides informative but simple. Slides that have a lot going on are distracting to an audience, and they will lose the point of the message you are trying to get across.
- Talking Points and Visual Cues: The slides that you prepare do not need to be filled to the brim with data and text. The focus of the slides is to show the important points that you are discussing and as means of visual cues for the audience, highlighting the most important points of your talk, not everything that you say.
- Static vs. Animation: It is best not to dress up your presentation with too much animation. Transitionary animation is acceptable if it is kept to a minimum. Every slide does not need animation, though. While it might appear to make the presentation livelier, it becomes a distraction from the message.
- Charts and Graphs: Charts and graphs can have a place in a PowerPoint presentation, but it is important to understand the role of each type. What information are you trying to share? If you are looking to show trends over time, then a line chart is best suited for your purposes. If you are showing a change in quantity during a certain time, then a vertical bar chart is best. Percentages are shown best in a pie chart fashion, and if you are comparing quantities of items, then a horizontal bar chart is in order.
- Color Scheme: While the information on each slide is important, the color scheme of the slides can be equally important. Colors have been known to influence the emotions of people. There have been several studies done that back this. It is important to understand what emotions are evoked by which colors. A quick Internet search will offer some advice. Additionally, it is important to understand the environment that you will be giving the presentation in as well. Will the room be well lit? Will it be presented at night? These factors will also help you decide what colors are best.
- Font Choice: The font choice and size need to be made with the audience in mind. While the slides should remain simple, they also need to be seen by the attendants in the back. So choosing a fancy font might be nice, but it also might be hard to distinguish the words from the back of the room. It is also best to keep the slides to one or two font choices only; again the focus is on the presentation and what you are saying.
- Sound: Adding short audio or video clips to your presentation can offer another layer of understanding for the audience. You can make a point and then illustrate your point with a short video. It is best not to include long video or audio tracks because your audience might have the tendency to tune out.
- Full Visualization: When you have your presentation completed, take the time to view the talk in its entirety to gauge the flow and content progression. This can be done by viewing the slide sorter. This shows each slide in the order of the presentation currently. From here you can decide if some slides need to be broken up more, or possibly put into a different position for better flow.
Giving a PowerPoint presentation does not have to be a stressful experience. By following the above guidelines, you can create a thoughtful and engaging presentation that will convey the message that you desire.
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