Top tips for an effective PowerPoint presentation

Categories: October 8, 2019 Best Practice

The key to delivering an effective corporate presentation often lies in well-designed PowerPoint slides.

While informative and effective PowerPoint presentations are meant to be subtle and provide credence to your original presentation topic, poorly planned slides can spell disaster and take away the attention of your audience.  Hence, it is important to be able to produce PowerPoint slides that add value.

To help you with that, here are 12 tips on producing professional and effective PowerPoint presentations.

1 – Have an outline

Before even starting to design the PowerPoint presentation, it is necessary that you have an outline of the topic ready. This will help you in reducing the time required to prepare the slides and will also allow you to start with a basic plan. You can jot down ideas and create a list of topics that you want to cover in your presentation and that will serve as your outline.

2 – Simplicity is the Key

As mentioned, PowerPoint presentations are meant to supplement your verbal discourse and not overshadow it. Hence, keeping the slides simple in both their design and content helps in their effectiveness.

If the audience gets distracted by outlandish and complicated slides, then they will not pay much attention to what you are saying and that defeats the entire purpose of the presentation.

The number of slides also makes a difference. In order to keep the audience actively engaged, it is advisable to not have lengthy presentations.

3 – Less Text

This point cannot be reiterated enough when it comes to creating effective presentations.

The best slides are the ones that have a very limited amount of text on them. In fact, there are presenters who prefer to not have any text at all.

Too much text can bore people, but even worse, it encourages them to read detailed slides when they should actually be listening to the presenter (you can’t do both effectively).

4 – Limit bullet points/numbered lists

Most people use bullet points and numbered lists in place of plain text while trying to get an idea across in their PowerPoint presentations. However, like texts, too much of these lists also affects the visual quality of the slides and must be used with caution.

The best practice is to use short lists and not more than one bulleted or numbered list per slide.

5 – Visual Representation

So what should you use to convey the message if not texts and points?

The answer lies in visually representing your information by using charts, graphs, and tables. Such representations capture the interest of the audience better than just plain texts. Also, by using such charts and graphs, you can incorporate a lot more amount of information in a single slide.

PowerPoint comes with inbuilt tools to help you generate charts and graphs as per your requirements. Use them to add another layer to your verbal presentation.

6 – Customise your themes

PowerPoint comes with a selection of themes and the usual instinct will be to use one of them for your presentations.

However, think about how many times your audience would have already seen that theme being used in other presentations. Hence, a simple and effective way to take your slides to the next level is by using custom themes.

It is fairly easy to create your own template, keeping in mind the message that you are trying to convey.

Even a simply designed format will be more effective than a generic template in this regard.

7 – Colour palette selection

Colour is an essential part of any kind of design and your PowerPoint slides are no exception.

If you are not sure about which colours to use, just Google for “colour palette” images.

This will give you thousands of combinations of colors that will complement each other.

You can customise it further by adding keywords like retro or pastel to search for specific colour palettes.

8 – Appropriate font selection

Like colour palettes, fonts are also an essential design element.

The best practice is to use the same font throughout the presentation and if absolutely necessary, then no more than 2 fonts from the same family.

Sans-serif fonts tend to be visually more appealing in slides and have a professional feel to them.

PowerPoint provides a host of options when it comes to fonts that you can use.

9 – Insert videos

An effective way to break the monotony of showing slides one after another is to insert a relevant video or audio clip to be played in between.

This allows the audience to take their concentration away from the static texts and pictures and stimulates their minds.

Video and audio are also a great way to insert examples into your presentation.

10 – Quality of graphics and media

Needless to say, the quality of the pictures and other graphics and media files like audios and videos must be above a certain threshold.

Pay attention to the resolution of the images and how they appear when projected on a big screen,

Similarly, for audio and video files, the playback speed must be considered along with the resolutions of the visuals (only for video).

11 – Maintain the flow

The entire presentation is a collection of slides that are tied together by the underlying topic of discussion. As such, it is important that the flow of the presentation is smooth and natural.

There should be both a logical and visual flow in the deck of slides.

An easy way to implement this is to view your presentation in the slide sorter view and determine whether the conversation is naturally flowing from one slide to another or not.

12 – Eliminate or reduce transitions

Tempting as they might seem, slide transitions and animations do not give an overall professional feel to the final presentation.

They might be effective when making fun presentations; but for something that you are making for your office or even college, it is best to refrain from using these effects.


So, those are some of the top tips that you can incorporate while preparing your next PowerPoint presentation.

Whether it be for your paper presentation in college or the next corporate meeting, following these will ensure that you make effective PowerPoint presentations.