How to Create Awesome PowerPoint Presentations

Barbara Carder
Thursday, May 12, 2016

Should you use PowerPoint?

Everyone who is asked to give a presentation must then ask themselves whether they should use a program to enhance their presentation. The presentation program that we are all probably most familiar with is Microsoft PowerPoint. The next time you are preparing a presentation that puts you behind the podium or up on a stage, first consider whether a presentation program should be used. Remember, PowerPoint is a visual tool that should enhance the topic of your presentation – not be the main focus of the presentation.

PowerPoint can be used effectively to illustrate a point by showing a photo, a graphic, a chart, or a map. Reasons to use PowerPoint may include:

  • You have content can be better explained using graphics, charts, or multimedia.
  • You have content with procedures or steps that can be clarified with visual reinforcement.

So, you’ve decided to use PowerPoint!

That’s great! Now, follow these five tips to create awesome PowerPoint presentations.

#1 Know Your Audience

Consider who you will be addressing. Are they familiar with the topic? Are they required to attend? Or, are they present because they want to be and are excited about the topic? Find out as much as possible about your audience prior to creating the presentation so you can customize the content to your audience.

#2 Select Two Fonts

Select two fonts to use throughout your presentation: one for the header text and one for the body text. The header font should be bold and eye-catching, and the body text should be simple and easy to read. Use a minimum font size of 44 for header text and font size of 32 for body text. You want everyone to be able to read the text from any location in the room. Plus, this will help you adhere to the next tip!

#3 Follow the 6×6 Rule

A good rule of thumb is to put no more than six lines of text on a slide, with no more than six words per line. Your audience can read material…do NOT place all of your information on the slides and then read it to your audience! Therefore, only highlights, visuals, or information that adds to what you are saying should be shown on a slide.

#4 Use Quality Images

Use high-quality images that reinforce and complement your message. Ensure that your image maintains its impact and resolution when projected on a larger screen. Google Images offers good quality visual images to include in your presentations at https://images.google.com/. Remember to cite the source of any image used.

#5 Proofread!

You run Spellcheck and think your presentation is complete? Not until you read every word of your presentation again! Spellcheck will not flag words that are correct but used incorrectly (their/there/they’re). You must read and read and read it again!

Good luck on your next presentation!

Other Great Resources

  • To see an example of what NOT to do when presenting information, go to this hilarious YouTube presentation by Don McMillan: Life after Death by PowerPoint (3:59 minutes)
  • To learn about the importance of a powerful beginning when making a presentation, go to this YouTube presentation by Gary Hankins: How to Powerfully Begin Every Presentation (4:11 minutes)
  • To learn about great openings and closing in a presentation, go to this YouTube presentation by Deborah Grayson Riegel: Great Openings and Closings (7:58 minutes)
Blog Category: 
Teaching Effectiveness

About the Author

Barbara Carder, MS

Barbara Carder holds a Master of Science in Marketing & Communication and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Communication, both from Franklin University.