October 20 2009

Four ways to improve your PowerPoint presentations

by Barbie in Writing

Whether you are a student, professor, or business professional, chances are you use PowerPoint or similar software to build presentations for classes, conferences, or meetings. A well-designed PowerPoint presentation can supplement your discussion and engage the audience. Here are four factors to consider when working in PowerPoint:

1) Create contrast.

Choose an aesthetically pleasing color scheme that provides adequate contrast. If you choose a dark background color like navy blue, use a light-colored text like white or light gray. Contrasting colors will improve your audience’s ability to follow your presentation.

2) Maximize white space.

Keep the amount of text on each slide to a minimum. Use bulleted lists rather than lengthy paragraphs. List only the key points on each slide. You don’t want your audience reading along with you.

3) Use images.

Images are often more engaging than text alone. If you are describing the organizational structure of a department, use a chart to depict that structure rather than a basic list. PowerPoint gives you the opportunity to illustrate your discussion, so take advantage of it.

4) Be selective.

Your presentation should supplement your discussion, not repeat it. Use your presentation in two ways. First, it should provide an outline or overview of your discussion. Next, it should offer supplemental information (like images or additional facts) that are not provided in the discussion.