Creating a PowerPoint Presentation

There are a number of different occasions when presentations are required. These requirements can occur in schools or workplaces and at events of the formal, semi-formal and informal variety. These days virtually all speeches are accompanied by a presentation of some type, very frequently in the form of PowerPoint presentation slides. Some can argue but it is a fact that MS PowerPoint software is the most popular tool for creating presentations today. This software enables the creator to build a slide show made up of individual slides connected by a common theme. The software also allows the presenter to build images, sound effects and even video/movie clips into their presentations.

If you are not familiar with MS PowerPoint or even if your presentation skills are not yet very well developed, you should know that this is something that is very easy to use. You might first want to familiarize yourself with the features of PowerPoint and then you can use our step-by-step guide to create a great presentation.

Building an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

  1. The first step in learning how to use a PowerPoint presentation for maximum effect is to understand the audience to be addressed. A crucial aspect of delivering a presentation is to use the right tone and correct manner when addressing your targeted audience. Consider any special preferences a particular audience might have and try to take these into account in your presentation.
  2. Hold a brainstorming session to generate ideas. While you may have a great deal to say on your chosen subject it is essential you are as much concise as possible. Presentations should not be confused with lectures or general speaking events.
  3. Extract the best and most important ideas from your speech and create slides for them. A presentation is not about dividing a speech into separate parts and putting these on slides. It is more about choosing the “meatiest” ideas and emphasizing these by including them in your speech and presentation. There are many professional PowerPoint templates available and you might find some of them quite useful for organizing your ideas.
  4. Draft a presentation outline and organize your slides accordingly. It is important that all ideas are presented in a consistent, logical and coherent manner.
  5. Look for ways you might use various images, audio effects or movie clips to highlight your PowerPoint presentation ideas. However, you need to ensure they are relevant to the subject matter and not just used as amusing pictures that serve no purpose but to distract your audience’s attention.
  6. When your presentation is complete and your PowerPoint theme incorporated throughout the slides, proofread it and try running it a number of times to ensure all elements work correctly. For example, make sure the text is correctly placed, that any special effects kick in at the right junctures and that images pop up in the intended manner.
  7. Having decided on themes, effects and backgrounds for PowerPoint presentations, it is a good idea to practice delivering your speech while your presentation is running. It is important that all elements synchronize correctly with your accompanying words. The effect will be completely ruined if your words fall behind or outrun your slides.

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Selecting Topics

A key factor in selecting presentation topics is getting to know your targeted audience. This differs to some extent with business-style presentations where the topic is usually determined in advance by the needs of a particular organization. Because presentations are intended to explain or demonstrate something to others topic selection should be focused more on the needs and expectations of the audience rather than on the speaker's own preferences.

However, the business rule does not apply in cases when the presentation is to be done in an academic environment. Here, you can select any topic you like for your PowerPoint presentation slides, with just one key consideration.

It is best to select a topic related to your discipline or one that you feel passionately about. If you do not then your speech and presentation may come across as shallow, boring and lacking in conviction.