10 Tips for Creating a Polished PowerPoint Presentation

When developing a presentation, it is important to clearly communicate the significance or importance of your topic and what it contributes to the field of study or knowledge base in the time allotted. So, to help you make the most of your time at the podium, here are 10 tips for creating a powerful, polished PowerPoint presentation:

1. Keep it Brief: Generally, you should have no more than 6 words per line and no more than 6 lines per slide.
2. Bullets: Bullets are an excellent way to minimize the text on your slides. Avoid using too many bullet points as this can make the slide too busy. You want your audience to listen to you deliver the information, rather than read the screen. To distinguish headings from bullets use different fonts.
3. Text vs. Graphics: Don’t just rely only on text to maintain the interest of your audience. It is best to use a combination of text, pictures, and other graphics, but use no more than two graphics per slide. The notes section can be used to capture your talking points or to script your presentation.
4. Font Size: Help your audience clearly see the information by using an appropriate font size. As a general rule, a one-inch letter is readable from 10 feet, a two-inch letter is readable from 20 feet, and a three-inch letter is readable from 30 feet (these measurements indicate the size of a font on your computer screen, not projected on a screen in full screen mode).
5. Font Style: Choose your font style carefully to ensure clarity. San serif fonts like Arial or Helvetica are particularly easy to read on a PowerPoint slide. Also avoid using all capital letters and italics. Be consistent with font use throughout the presentation.
6. Font Color: Font colors should be in the range of whites to yellow for dark backgrounds and black to dark blue for light backgrounds. Always avoid red, which does not project well.
7. Charts and Graphs: Use charts and graphs to back up you up; don’t let the charts use you. When using graphs, label your axis.
8. Animations: When using animations, ensure they contribute to the content of the presentation. Excessive use of animations is a distraction.
9. Contrast: To make your slides pop, use high contrast between background & text colors.
10. Quality Control: Ensure you do not have spelling or grammar mistakes. Don’t just rely on spell check; refer to the Chicago Manual of
Style for style and usage guidelines and have someone else review your slides to catch any errors that escaped you.

Are there any other tips you recommend? Leave a comment after this post to share your suggestions with other presenters and we’ll also tweet them from @SEPGConferences.

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3 responses to “10 Tips for Creating a Polished PowerPoint Presentation

  1. Pingback: Top PowerPoint Annoyances Revealed in New Survey | The Official Blog of the SEPG Conference Series

  2. Thank you very much for this blogpost. Especially point number 3 is very important for me. One more thing that the presenter ccould use in presenting the content is to turn off the projector (mute picture) sometimes during the presentation. This bring the focus on you instead on the Power Point presentation.

    • I’m glad you found these tips to be helpful. I agree with your additional tip. The presenter should guide the presentation, not the slides. Thanks for sharing!

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