The guide to PowerPoint

In a digital contemporary, an effective, professional and engaging presentation is crucial. Here is how you can succeed.

Anyone can make a simple PowerPoint slide, however, few know how to actually make them effective and professional. With a professional presentation, you can engage your audience for the entirety of your slideshow, leaving them feeling satisfied and impressed in addition to successfully transferring the knowledge and information you intend for them. To create your best presentation, read the following tips below.  

Let 3 be the magic number in main messages
When it comes to the main message, for all PowerPoint presentations, it is essential to have up to three central messages for your audience to take away from your presentation. More than three messages will overwhelm and confuse your audience. According to the presentation experts, three really is the magic number, but having only one or two messages will do the job. 

Limiting your main messages to three will help your audience to follow the central theme throughout your presentation and because of that, take away your key points at the end.

It is crucial for the creator of the presentation to identify and to limit your main messages and themes. This will help you organize your slides and your presentation. All of your information should support these main messages, and if the information doesn't support or provide insight to the main messages, it should be removed. This will keep your slides concise and because of this, all your points will be related and organized. 

At the beginning of the presentation, tell your audience what your main messages will be. This will set their expectations about what they will learn in the slides to come. At the end of the presentation, summarize your main messages again without adding any unprecedented information. Repeating the information at the end will ensure that the audience remembers you and the messages you conveyed, they will also be impressed by your presentation skills!  

Support with short sub-messages

Your slide content should consist of sub-messages that support your main messages. The sub-messages are the bulk of your presentation. However, be sure that you limit your sub-messages to roughly 3-5 per slide

When it comes to effective PowerPoint content, less is more. Often, your point can be made of brief bullet points that are not complete sentences. You want to get your point across without inundating your audience with too much detail and concentrated text. This will only confuse them! 

Your sub-messages should be obvious and stated clearly. Support them with a visual such as an image that is relevant. In fact, there may be times when a visual is the only thing you need on your slide to get your message across. Strong visuals can boost a PowerPoint presentation.

When designing your slides of sub-messages and visuals, consider the white space. White space plays a critical role in PowerPoint presentations because it offers your audience an opportunity to rest their eyes while you discuss the slide and provide them with more detail. If there is too much text or an image that is too detailed with lots of data, your audience will focus on the visual presentation, therefore, ignore your speech.

Use strong visuals, they are often more effective than words

A PowerPoint presentation is most effective when strong visuals are used. As stated above, these visuals should support your main messages and sub-messages. Strong visuals can include pictures, graphs, charts, and infographics.

Weak visuals should be avoided at all costs. They will only have to bring down the quality of the presentation and weaken the affiliated content. A weak visual is anything that is inappropriate for your presentation, and that does not contribute or support the information in the presentation. Additionally, visuals that are...

For the full guide on how to master your work presentations, check out the article originally published in CROWD magazine vol.3 at Crowd1.