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10 top tips to improve your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation skills & wow your audience.

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

The impact of a good PowerPoint presentation should never be overlooked. Just a few polishes here and there can be the difference between a slow and monotonous 20-minute business presentation and a short, swift and engaging one.

Creating a great PowerPoint is an essential skill that any professional can greatly benefit from. Tread carefully though, as it’s easy to get it wrong. Messy slides and overcomplicated animations can have your stakeholders not knowing which way to look, losing concentration quickly and missing your important content message.

We have collated some tips and tricks to make your slideshow more attractive, professional and engaging – easily!

1. Create a variety of slides to demonstrate sections and signpost movements between topics

Once you have chosen a theme and/or colour scheme for your presentation, the next step is to ensure that you are not just presenting the same slide repeatedly. We recommend that you create a variety of different signposting slides to keep the audience visually interested and to clearly demonstrate different sections of the presentation. Our suggestions are:

· Title Slide

· An Agenda slide or table of contents slide

· A slide that introduces the speaker

· Various content slides with different layouts

· A summary slide with a sign-off and contact details if applicable.

2. Use the Duplicate slides feature to save time

Save valuable time by duplicating the slides you have just created for different sections before you begin to populate them with content – perhaps planning how many slides you have and pre-setting them out in order would be best for this.

Here is how to do that:

On the left slides pane, simply right-click the thumbnail of the slide you want to duplicate and choose Duplicate Slide from the pop-up menu.

3. Ensure that your font is uniform throughout your presentation

It is best practice to ensure that you pre decide your fonts and font sizes to representation different purposes throughout your slide deck. This could mean choosing a title font, body copy font and perhaps a font for quotes or stand out text. Keep your fonts simple and clear to read. This doesn’t make them boring.

For Example you may choose:

Title Font – Tahoma / Bold / Front size 15

Body Copy - Tahoma / Light / Front size 11

Shout Out / Quotes - Tahoma / Italic Bold / Font size 13

We also recommend that you embed your font files into PowerPoint, especially if they are your brand fonts that will not change or vary from presentation to presentation. This will avoid the fonts changing when viewers switch from computer to computer – which is especially noticeable if some users are on an Apple Mac instead of a Windows computer. Here, HubSpot explains how to easily do this. Most companies have a set of brand guidelines that include recommended fonts and visual guidelines for branding, so check with your marketing department before you start.

4. Add Transitions to your slides

If executed correctly, transitions between slides can make you look like a PowerPoint whizz and keep your viewers interested for longer. PowerPoint has a bank of pre created transitions to suit every type of presentation – and you can preview them before applying. We recommend that you keep the transitions simple and streamlined to not over complicate the slideshow. We don’t want loads of slides flipping and spinning during an end of year finance review!

5. Add Animations to your slides

Like Transitions, animations can add a subtle movement and introduce new information at different times to suit your script. For example, if you are listing some main findings or points, introducing a bullet point or image one at a time can keep the audience engaged in your content instead of making assumptions ahead of you based on the slide content. We would consider some of the more professional animations as the simple ones, such as Fade or Basic Zoom.

6. Minimise text where possible

Less is more when it comes to content – PowerPoint is not designed to be a script read aloud to a room. Make sure that you only include the most vital information on your slide, highlighting title points or perhaps data that you are discussing. For example including “73% of users agreed” and then verbally explaining the rest of the findings in your script will ensure that stakeholders will need to listen to you instead of simply reading information off of the slide.

7. Use Visuals to display data

Varying the way in which you display data is a quick and efficient way to keep your audience engaged. We’re talking pie charts, line graphs and infographics instead of tables of numbers and long paragraphs of texts. PowerPoint has everything built into their settings to help you create these easily. Check out our Introduction to PowerPoint course to find out how to do this!

8. Embed Multimedia to avoid any issues with links and opening windows in browsers

We understand that often it can seem much easier to just keep your YouTube tab open and switch to watch it mid presentation, or perhaps you have a video on your laptop that you absolutely must show a 1 minute clip of – but why not embed the video within your slides to avoid the faffing between programs? 1 or 2 minutes of loading time gives your audience enough time to disengage and embedding a video will look much more professional and prepared. Our Advanced PowerPoint Course will teach you exactly how to do this quickly and effectively.

9. Provide print out versions of your slides to stakeholders

Now we know that this isn’t a direct PowerPoint action, however it will significantly improve audience engagement. Slide print outs will allow them to make short additional notes on the slides and spend more time paying attention to what you have to say and less time to their note taking and therefore is definitely worth including in the top 10 tips.

10. ALWAYS test your presentation a few times before the big day

This will help to test any glitches or missing animations.

Here at F1 Computer services, we can support you in learning how to make the best of Microsoft PowerPoint presentations - whether you need to learn the basics as a beginner or want to advance your presentations further to entice larger audiences. All our Microsoft computer training courses are taught by Microsoft Certified trainers and can be hosted in teams of up to 6 people. Contact us to find out more.

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