The Presenter’s Guide to Nailing Your Next PowerPoint

Have a presentation developing that entails PowerPoint slides? Creating the content material and design for a brand new presentation is usually a daunting job.

Between outlining, deciding on a design, filling it out, and finalizing the main points, it isn’t unusual for just a few inquiries to pop up.

The place’s the most effective place to start out? Are some steps higher to take earlier than others? How are you going to ensure you aren’t lacking something? And the way on earth do you grasp these important — but barely technical — design tips that may take a presentation from good to nice?

→ Free Download: 4 PowerPoint Presentation Templates [Access Now]

We’re right here to make the method a bit simpler for you. We have talked to a few of the greatest presenters at HubSpot and have included their suggestions all through this weblog.

With the next suggestions in your arsenal, you can navigate PowerPoint far more fluidly and provides a standout presentation that’ll go away your viewers wanting extra.

Methods to Construction a Powerpoint Presentation

1. Determine on a working title and the primary takeaways.

Past selecting a subject, your first step needs to be developing with a working title on your presentation. A working title is extra particular than a subject: Assume “How the Proper Diet Can Strengthen Your Youngsters’ Bones” as a substitute of “Elevating Wholesome Youngsters.” Needless to say a compelling presentation title is very similar to a compelling weblog submit title: brief, correct, and priceless.

As soon as you have bought your working title, make an inventory of the primary takeaways of your presentation to start to provide it some construction. This’ll provide help to keep centered when writing your define and elaborating on these sections.

Aja Frost, the Head of English website positioning at HubSpot, says, “I attempt to construction my shows round a narrative. Not solely does this make the presentation extra memorable and interesting, it is also simpler to determine which data is related.”

To do that, Frost says to choose a protagonist. She provides, “It is perhaps your group, your viewers, your buyer…. Then, establish the rising motion, drawback, climax, and falling motion. It is similar to grade college. This construction works whether or not you are speaking about an accomplishment, a problem, a giant query—something, actually.”

2. Create a brief textual content define together with your viewers in thoughts.

Upon getting your important takeaways and your story in thoughts, it is time to start outlining the content material of your presentation in additional element, whereas preserving your particular viewers in thoughts. A presentation on any subject ought to sound totally different if you happen to’re chatting with an viewers of faculty college students versus an viewers of buyers, for instance. The tone, phrases, design, and supply of your presentation ought to all cater to your particular viewers for max affect.

Ask your self: What do your viewers members already know? What new data are you able to train them? What are they anticipating out of your presentation? What is going on to be attention-grabbing to them? What’s going to hold them centered and engaged? Then, make decisions throughout each stage of the presentation course of accordingly.

Justin Champion, a content material professor at HubSpot, says, “Earlier than diving right into a presentation, I create a top level view of the way it’ll circulation. I do that by creating an intro (what they are going to be taught), the physique (what they’re studying), and end with a conclusion (recap what they only discovered) I exploit bullet level slide so much for speaking factors I can develop on. Professional tip: use animations to information the story. For instance, as a substitute of exhibiting all of the bullets directly, click on via to every by way of animation.”

3. Formulate your content material as a story, if attainable.

This will likely not apply for extra formal presentation which have inflexible buildings (like efficiency stories), however for shows which have extra flexibility, presenting your content material as a story will be far more compelling.

Tales enchantment to folks’s emotional aspect in ways in which data, info, and figures cannot. They provide help to relate to your viewers — and in flip, they’re going to make you and your message much more attention-grabbing to your viewers. In addition they assist make sophisticated ideas extra simply comprehensible to your viewers, who might not share the identical expertise degree or work in the identical trade.

Kyle Jepson, a senior professor at HubSpot, says, “Since I’m an educator, I all the time construction my shows across the studying outcomes I need to obtain. If there are three issues I need my listeners to grasp on the finish of the presentation, I’ll have three sections. At any time when attainable, I put some form of interactive ingredient on the finish of every part to evaluate their understanding. In a digital occasion, this is perhaps a ballot or a query for folks to reply to within the chat. In an in-person setting, workshop actions or small-group discussions work effectively.”

4. Accumulate knowledge and examples.

Whereas sweeping statements may also help you set the stage, supporting these statements with proof will make your argument extra attention-grabbing and credible. Information and examples give your argument content material, and folks will perceive what you are saying significantly better.

However do not simply slap random stats in your slides and anticipate to “wow” your viewers. Be certain your knowledge comes from a good supply and that you simply’re presenting it in a manner that is straightforward to grasp, like via correct charts and graphs.

Lastly, do not overwhelm your viewers with an excessive amount of knowledge. According to psychologist George Miller, we are able to solely keep in mind roughly 5 to 9 bits of knowledge in our short-term reminiscence at any given time. Hold that in thoughts as you accumulate your proof.

5. Have interaction together with your viewers.

Throughout a presentation, it is essential to attach together with your viewers. However how will you do this once you’re simply speaking at them?

Anni Kim, an INBOUND professor at HubSpot, says, “Staying engaged throughout a digital presentation is hard, so present loads of alternatives for participation. You must add a slide at first that factors out how folks can make the most of the chat and ask questions all through the presentation.”

As soon as you have set the expectations, sustain on the chat and reply questions as they come up.

Now that you’ve got a construction in thoughts, you will begin to write the content material. Beneath, we’ll give suggestions for learn how to begin and finish your presentation.

Methods to Begin a Powerpoint Presentation

1. Begin with a narrative.

To not be repetitive, however storytelling is without doubt one of the greatest methods to seize your viewers’s consideration basically. Displays are not any totally different. Beginning with a hook is a good way to get your viewers invested in your content material.

Champion says, “One of the simplest ways to start out a presentation is with an attention-grabbing story that connects to the content material. A good way to maintain you viewers engaged is to make the content material attention-grabbing.”

2. Be your self.

Alternatively, when you need to inform a narrative, you additionally need your viewers to attach with you because the presenter.

Jepson says, “In the course of the introduction, I believe one of the crucial essential issues to do is to set expectations on your type as a presenter. You do not all the time want to start out with a joke or a narrative. Begin out by being you, after which hold being you for so long as you’re on stage.”

3. Embrace stunning or uncommon data at first.

When you’ll almost certainly use an ordinary method with session title, presenter’s bio, and an agenda, you do not need your viewers to get bored.

Jepson provides “I believe the usual method (session title, presenter’s bio, agenda) is fairly efficient besides that it’s often tremendous boring. I attempt to embrace the usual data however sprinkle in issues which can be stunning or uncommon.”

Some examples embrace:

  • Including a photograph of your loved ones on the About Me slide. “A number of presenters put an image of themselves on their About Me slide. However I believe that’s foolish as a result of I’m standing proper there,” Jepson says. “If folks don’t know what I appear like, they are going to by the top of the presentation! So I’ve began placing an image of my spouse and children on that slide and saying one thing candy or foolish about that.”
  • Asking folks to make use of their telephones. “A number of in-person shows begin with a request to silence cell telephones,” Jepson feedback. “Typically I’ll do the other and say one thing like, ‘Earlier than we get began, I need you all to tug out your telephones. You most likely assume I’m going to ask you to silence them. However I’m not. I’m right here from HubSpot, and I’m right here that can assist you nonetheless I can. So if there’s anybody out of your group who might need questions or need assistance from a HubSpotter, I need you to ship them a message and inform them to ship their inquiries to you earlier than we get to the Q&A bit of presentation. To present you time to do that, I’m going to ship a textual content to my spouse to let her know I made it right here safely.’ After which I’ll actually pull out my telephone and ship a textual content message on stage.”

Now that you have structured your submit and have ironed out the main points of your introduction, it is time to work on the top of the presentation.

Methods to Finish a Powerpoint Presentation

1. Recap what the viewers has discovered.

Before everything, the top of your presentation ought to tie every part collectively.

Champion provides, “Recap what they only discovered, clarify subsequent steps based mostly on learnings, and supply any related sources to proceed studying.”

It will assist folks keep in mind the content material and provides them sources to be taught extra or attain out if they’ve questions.

2. Q&A.

One other nice method to finish a presentation is with a Q&A.

Jepson remarks, “I all the time finish with Q&A. The one difficult factor about that’s figuring out learn how to minimize it off if you happen to’re getting extra questions than you’ve got time to reply or if you happen to aren’t getting any questions in any respect. In each of these conditions, I do basically the identical: I minimize it off and inform folks to come back discuss to me individually.”

For in-person conferences, Jepson will inform the viewers to come back discover him after the presentation to ask extra questions. Nonetheless, for digital conferences, he’ll let folks know learn how to attain him, whether or not that is by way of LinkedIn or electronic mail.

3. Name to motion.

Calls to motion are an essential part of any piece of content material and shows are not any totally different. What would you like your viewers to do with this data?

In your recap, embrace actionable methods on your viewers to include your data into their day-to-day (if relevant). It’s also possible to let folks know to achieve out to you with questions so that they know the following steps in case they need to focus on the presentation additional.

Now that you’ve got an thought of what you are going to be speaking about and the way you will be laying it out, it is time to open up a brand new PowerPoint presentation and apply these primary design components.

Outlining Your PowerPoint Design

1. Decide a coloration scheme.

Earlier than you start translating your textual content define into PowerPoint, you will need to begin by including some very primary design components to your PowerPoint slides. First, select a coloration scheme — one which has sufficient distinction between colours to make colours stand out. Whether or not you resolve to make use of two, three, or 4 totally different colours in your presentation is as much as you, however sure coloration mixtures go collectively higher than others. Learn the sections on creating coloration schemes on this weblog submit to determine a superb coloration mixture.

Color scheme examples.

Picture Supply

2. Design your slide backgrounds.

In PowerPoint, much less is extra. You don’t ever need to let the design distract out of your message. However on the similar time, you need to get extra inventive than a plain, white background — even if you happen to’re going for a quite simple design.

The three important methods so as to add a background design to a PowerPoint presentation are: 1) to make use of a predesigned template from PowerPoint; 2) to create a customized background utilizing a stable coloration; or 3) to create a customized background utilizing a picture. This is learn how to do every of these issues.

(We even have a few general PowerPoint templates available for download here, which include a sequence of movies to show you some primary PowerPoint creation suggestions.)

Methods to Browse Predesigned Templates in PowerPoint

PowerPoint comes with a sequence of predesigned templates to select from.

To browse these templates on a Mac: Click on on the slide or slides you need to add the background to. Then, click on the “Themes” tab on the high of the display screen.

PowerPoint themes.

You’ll be able to both scroll via your choices up there, or you may entry the themes gallery in an even bigger window by hovering your mouse over the theme previews and clicking the dropdown arrow that seems under them.

Proper-click the background type that you really want. To use the background type to the chosen slides, click on “Apply to Chosen Slides.” To use the background type to all of the slides in your presentation, click on “Apply to All Slides.”

To browse these templates on a PC: Click on on the slide or slides you need to add the background to. Then, click on the “Design” tab on the high of the display screen. Within the “Background” group, click on the arrow subsequent to “Background Types” to open up the theme gallery.

PC PowerPoint themes.

Image Source

Proper-click the background type that you really want. To use the background type to the chosen slides, click on “Apply to Chosen Slides.” To use the background type to all of the slides in your presentation, click on “Apply to All Slides.”

Professional Tip: It’s also possible to apply any PowerPoint presentation or template you have already got as a theme, even when it would not present up within the theme gallery. To try this, click on the “Browse Themes” possibility you will discover on the backside of the dropdown themes gallery, and navigate to wherever the given presentation, template, or theme is positioned in your pc. Then, click on “Apply.”

Methods to Create a Customized Background Utilizing a Stable Colour

Need your slide background to be a easy, stable coloration? The steps to do that are virtually similar on a Mac and a PC.

Merely right-click the slide(s) you need to add a background coloration to, then click on “Format Background.” Within the window that seems, click on “Fill” after which “Stable.” Discover you can too regulate the gradient or make the background a sample. Click on “Apply” on the backside to use the modifications.

PowerPoint formatting background.

Methods to Create a Customized Background Utilizing an Picture

Typically, making the slide background a high-definition picture can actually make that slide pop. It additionally encourages you to chop down on textual content in order that only some key phrases complement the picture. PowerPoint makes it straightforward to create a customized background utilizing a picture you personal.

PowerPoint with an image as the background.

Image Source

First, select your picture. Measurement issues right here: Be certain it is excessive decision in order that it could possibly fill your slide with out changing into blurry or distorted. Listed below are the 17 greatest free inventory photograph websites that can assist you discover some massive, nice high quality photographs.

To create a customized background utilizing a picture on a Mac: Click on the slide that you simply need to add a background image to. To pick a number of slides, click on a slide after which press and maintain CTRL when you click on the opposite slides.

Subsequent, click on the “Themes” tab on the high of your display screen. Within the “Theme Choices” group, click on “Background,” then “Format Background.”

PowerPoint formatting background.

Within the window that seems, click on “Fill,” then “Image or Texture.” To insert an image from a file, click on “Select Image…” after which find and double-click the image you need to insert. If you wish to use this image as a background for simply the slides you chose, click on “Apply.” If you wish to use the image as a background for all the slides in your presentation, click on “Apply to All.”

To create a customized background utilizing a picture on a PC: Click on the slide that you simply need to add a background image to. To pick a number of slides, click on a slide after which press and maintain CTRL when you click on the opposite slides.

Subsequent, click on the “Design” tab on the high of your display screen. Within the “Background” group, click on “Background Types,” then “Format Background.”

PowerPoint design tab.

Image Source

Within the window that seems, click on “Fill,” then “Image or texture fill.” To insert an image from a file, click on “File” after which find and double-click the image you need to insert. If you wish to use this image as a background for simply the slides you chose, click on “Shut.” If you wish to use the image as a background for all the slides in your presentation, click on “Apply to All.”

Filling Within the Content material

1. Fill within the textual content in your slides utilizing concise language.

Your slides are there to help your speech, not substitute it. In case your slides include an excessive amount of data — like full sentences or (gasp) paragraphs — then your viewers members will not be capable to assist however learn the slides as a substitute of listening to you. Plus … that is boring. As an alternative, use slides to reinforce key phrases and present visuals when you get up there and do the actual work: telling a narrative and describing your knowledge.

With regards to your slide textual content, deal with the primary phrases of a bullet level, and canopy particulars verbally. We advocate utilizing as much as three bullet factors per slide and making any textual content as easy and concise as attainable. A superb rule of thumb is that this: In case you’re utilizing greater than two traces per slide or per thought, then you definately’ve used an excessive amount of textual content. Relying on the kind of presentation, two traces would possibly even be a bit text-heavy.

Are you planning on sending your slides to your viewers afterward? In case you’re involved about placing sufficient data on the slides for folks to grasp your presentation after they return to it later, you may all the time add little particulars into the slide notes in PowerPoint. You’ll find the Notes pane on the backside of your PowerPoint display screen, proper under your slides. Click on and drag the sting of the pane to make it bigger or smaller.

PowerPoint slides with notes.

2. Brainstorm your closing title with another person.

As soon as all of your content material is there, you are able to finalize your title. First, refine your working title as greatest you may by yourself. Is it compelling and attention-grabbing sufficient to interact your viewers from the very begin? Does it precisely mirror your presentation?

Subsequent — and that is essential — join with another person to brainstorm the ultimate title collectively. Learn this weblog submit for a useful walkthrough on writing an important title and title brainstorming with others.

Filling In Your PowerPoint Design

1. Select a font that is straightforward to learn.

Select both one font to make use of all through your presentation, or two (one on your headers and one on your physique textual content) that distinction one another effectively. This is an inventory of 35 lovely fonts you may obtain without cost to get you began.

In case you resolve on two fonts, your header font needs to be daring and attention-grabbing, and your physique textual content font needs to be easy and simple to learn. (For extra steerage on what fonts work greatest collectively, check out this visible information.)

2. Embed your font information.

Fonts altering from one pc to a different is without doubt one of the most typical issues PowerPoint presenters have — and it could possibly actually mess up your presentation and circulation. What’s truly taking place on this case will not be that the fonts are altering; it is that the presentation pc simply doesn’t have the identical font information put in.

In case you’re utilizing a PC and presenting on a PC, then there’s a clean workaround for this subject. Whenever you contain Mac programs, the answer is a bit rougher.

On a PC: Whenever you save your PowerPoint file, click on “Save As” after which “Save Choices.” Then, choose the “Embed TrueType fonts” verify field and press “OK.” Now, your presentation will hold the font file and your fonts is not going to change once you transfer computer systems (except you give your presentation on a Mac).

On a Mac: In PowerPoint for Mac, there is no choice to embed fonts throughout the presentation. So except you employ ubiquitous typefaces like Arial or Tahoma, your PowerPoint is probably going going to come across font modifications on totally different computer systems. One of the simplest ways to keep away from that is to save lots of the ultimate model of your presentation slides as JPEGs, after which insert these JPEGs onto your PowerPoint slides. In different phrases, make every slide a JPEG image of your slide. (Notice that the file measurement of your PowerPoint will improve in case your presentation consists of a number of JPEGs.)

Mac customers can simply drag and drop the JPEGs into PowerPoint. In case you do not use actions in your presentation, then this selection works particularly effectively.

If you would like your presentation to seem “animated,” then you definately’ll must perform a little tinkering. All it is advisable to do is save JPEGs of every “body” of the animation. Then, in your closing presentation, you will simply show these JPEGs within the order you’d just like the animation to seem. When you’ll technically have a number of new slides rather than one authentic one, your viewers will not know the distinction.

In case you’re a Mac consumer and need to use this selection, then remember to add this to your guidelines as the ultimate step.

3. Regulate the font sizes.

As soon as you have chosen your font, you can begin enjoying round with font measurement. Fastidiously select the font sizes for headers and textual content, and constantly use the identical font face and sizes on all of your slides to maintain issues clear and legible. Be certain your font is large enough so even the viewers members in the best way again of the room can learn them.

4. Regulate line and character spacing.

The largest PowerPoint no-no is utilizing an excessive amount of textual content on a slide. The simplest slides use textual content sparingly and current it in a manner that is straightforward to learn. One trick to make textual content extra legible with out altering the font measurement or format is to extend or lower the area between every line and every letter.

To regulate line spacing:

Choose the textual content you need to regulate. On the “House” tab, within the “Paragraph” group, click on “Line Spacing” and select “Line Spacing Choices.” Within the Paragraph dialog field’s “Spacing” part, click on the “Line Spacing” dropdown checklist and select “Precisely.” Within the “At” textual content field, regulate the worth accordingly. Click on “OK” to save lots of your modifications.

PowerPoint line spacing.

To regulate character spacing:

Choose the textual content you need to change. Then, on the “House” tab, discover and click on the “Font” button.” Select “Character Spacing Choices” from the dropdown menu. Regulate spacing as wanted.

PowerPoint character spacing.

5. Add photographs.

Nice visible cues can have a big impact on how effectively your viewers understands your message. Utilizing beautiful photographs in a slide presentation is the right method to hold issues attention-grabbing.

It is essential, although, that you simply do not use photographs to brighten. This can be a quite common mistake. Keep in mind: Photos are supposed to reinforce or complement your message, however they are often distracting. Give attention to discovering excessive decision photographs in order that they appear good when expanded with out changing into blurry or distorted.

If you do not have your personal photographs to make use of, take a look at our roundup of the 17 greatest free inventory photograph websites.

Professional Tip: In case you’re discovering that the background of a picture is distracting, you may truly take away it earlier than placing it into your presentation straight inside PowerPoint — no Photoshop required. Learn this weblog submit for directions.

Image with and without background.

6. Use multimedia, however sparingly.

Utilizing multimedia in your presentation, like video and audio, will be an efficient method to seize your viewers’s consideration and encourage retention of your message. Typically, it is best to keep away from utilizing a couple of or two video or audio clips so you do not detract out of your discuss or your message.

PowerPoint permits you to both hyperlink to video/audio information externally, or embed the media straight in your presentation. You must embed these information if you happen to can, however if you happen to use a Mac, you can not truly embed the video. We’ll get to that in a second.

PC customers: Listed below are two nice causes to embed your multimedia:

  1. Embedding means that you can play media straight in your presentation. It’s going to look far more skilled than switching between home windows.
  2. Embedding additionally signifies that the file stays throughout the PowerPoint presentation, so it ought to play usually with out additional work (besides on a Mac).

Mac customers: It is advisable be additional cautious about utilizing multimedia information. You may all the time must convey the video and/or audio file with you in the identical folder because the PowerPoint presentation. It’s greatest to solely insert video or audio information as soon as the presentation and the containing folder have been saved on a conveyable drive of their everlasting folder.

In case your presentation goes to be performed on a Home windows pc, then Mac customers want to verify their multimedia information are in WMV format. That may get sophisticated, so if you wish to use PowerPoint successfully, think about using the identical working system for designing and presenting it doesn’t matter what (if that is one thing you may management).

7. Design your title slide.

The title of your presentation is usually the primary impression it offers off — particularly if it may be on show as folks file in to your presentation — so it is essential to place a while and cautious thought into its design.

Listed below are 20 format concepts for PowerPoint title slides from Chris Lema:

8. Add any constant components, like your organization emblem.

There is a motive that is on the finish. In case you add issues like your emblem that you simply need to be in the identical place on each slide, any changes you make to particular person slides might barely alter the alignment … and you will have to return and regulate them another time.

Making ready For the Presentation

1. Assessment and edit your slides.

Spend a while by yourself flipping via your slides whereas training your discuss. Be sure you can verify the entire following off the checklist:

  • Your slides circulation effectively and align together with your discuss.
  • Your slides are freed from all grammatical, formatting, or design errors.
  • Your multimedia information work.
  • You have double-checked any mathematical calculations you made your self.
  • You have correctly attributed any statistics, knowledge, quotes, concepts, and many others. to the unique supply.
  • You have double-checked you are truly allowed to make use of the images/photographs you used. (Do not skip this step. This is a cautionary story about web copyright legislation.)
  • You are certain nothing in your presentation might doubtlessly hurt any of your companions, stakeholders, viewers members, or your organization.
  • You have checked with a buddy that nothing in your presentation would possibly offend sure folks in your viewers — or, if that’s the case, that it is price it.

2. Know your slides inside out.

The most effective presenters do not learn off your slides, so it is essential to organize and apply your presentation forward of time. You by no means need to be the individual finalizing your discuss or presentation half an hour earlier than an occasion … that is simply poor planning. Plus, what if the projector fails and you need to give your discuss with out slides? It will probably occur, and if does, you will be extremely joyful you spent a lot time making ready.

3. Apply utilizing “presenter view.”

Relying on the venue, you might need a presenter’s display screen out there to you along with the primary projected show that your viewers can see. PowerPoint has an important device known as “Presenter View,” which incorporates an space for notes, a timer/clock, a presentation show, and a preview of the following slide.

Make certain “Presenter View” is turned on by choosing it within the “Slide Present” tab of your PowerPoint.

To apply utilizing “Presenter View,” open the “Slide Present” tab inside PowerPoint. Within the “Presenter Instruments” field, click on “Presenter View.”

PowerPoint presenter view.

4. Convey your personal laptop computer and a backup copy of your presentation.

This is not only a bonus step — it is an important one. Know-how can mess up on you, and it is advisable to be ready. Between working programs and even between totally different variations of Microsoft Workplace, PowerPoint can get a bit wonky. One method to keep away from issues is to make sure you have all the best {hardware} with you. Convey alongside your personal laptop computer once you’re presenting, simply in case.

Even if you happen to convey your laptop computer, however particularly if you happen to for some motive can not, convey a backup copy of your PowerPoint file on a flash drive.

What different suggestions do you’ve got for nailing PowerPoint shows?

Editor’s observe: This submit was initially revealed in October 2015 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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