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6 tips to have success with your PowerPoint presentation

Preparing an outstanding presentation requires dedication and effort. Here are some simple tips to help creating successful presentations using PowerPoint.

1.Have a structure

Organize your presentation to have a beginning, middle and an end. To define the structure, you could consider who are the audience, what kind of content you are presenting, what points do you want to get across and how much time you have got.

In the introduction, you can welcome the audience and say what your presentation will be about. Continue your presentation telling a captivating story. People enjoy and learn from stories. Finally, in the conclusion, summarize your main points. Make a space for questions from your audience and thanks them for listening. The end should be on a high note.

2. Check the presentation room

If you have the chance, visit the presentation room before presenting and check the technology available there. Learn more about the hardware that is available to run the presentation.

Check what is the optimum screen size and aspect ratio. There are some projector screens that are ready for modern 16:9 presentations, but this is not the norm. Some old presentation screens are still prepared for 4:3 aspect ratio. Presenting your slides with the wrong aspect ratio can really hurt the overall presentation experience and make it look bad in the screen.

In PowerPoint, it is very easy to change the size of your slides. Knowing in advance which is the right size can let you take full advantage of the presentation space while adding your content.

3. Use the Presenter View

The Presenter View is a feature available in major versions of PowerPoint. It allows to run a slideshow with a secondary screen view that is intended to be used by the presenter. This view contains valuable information for the presenter that can be used during the presentation including timer & clock, the presentation notes and tools to control the slideshow.

4. Bring your laptop with you

If you have the chance, bring your computer with you when you are presenting. Bringing your own hardware with you when presenting can help you to make sure the presentation will look exactly as you designed and rehearsed it.

Otherwise, there are multiple factors that can make your presentation to look differently. For instance, if you are using custom fonts, you would need to make sure the fonts are embedded into the presentation or installed in the computer running the presentation to avoid problems. Some videos or multimedia elements may not run well in all the environments (codecs can be required) so bringing your own computer with you or checking the technical specifications beforehand can help to avoid these issues.

As an alternative, if you can’t bring your own hardware with you then think a plan B in case the presentation could not be loaded. Saving your PowerPoint presentation to a different format (PDF) or hosting the slides online can help. If you are using videos embedded in your presentations, make sure to have a copy of the video saved in the same folder where your PowerPoint presentation is.

5. Less is more

The audience can only do one thing at a time well. They can listen to your speech or read your slides in your screen while you are presenting. According to Nancy Duarte, it should take no more than three seconds for viewers to intellectually process and comprehend a slide (the glance test). Many presentations use very busy slides but packing your slides with too many details, paragraphs and text can be the enemy of comprehension and retention.

To make a presentation glance-test compatible there are a few tips:

Summarize. Use bullet points to encapsulate what you are talking about rather than expressing complete thoughts.

Use Visual Aids. Support your slides with relevant visual aids. Avoid using distracting graphics that do not offer value and instead include catchy and simple graphics. Find a reliable source for compelling PowerPoint templates - Keep the backgrounds simple or use a good contrast to make sure the text is easy to read and use as much white space as possible.

Prepare your speech. The message is very important, so use PowerPoint as a presentation supporter but focus in your oral speech to tell a story, expand and clarify what is on the screen.

6. Make a Pixel Perfect Design

Pixel perfect means that you have considered every detail. Having pixel perfect slides can help you to make the presentation look polished and professional. The overall experience can also be improved, especially when members of the auditorium are picky.

Make sure your shapes and objects are aligned properly. Even if it is possible to align the shapes manually, you can take advantage of PowerPoint Align tools to make a perfect pixel presentation.

Making this kind of presentation designs require dedication, effort and in some cases an obsessive level of attention to detail but ensures that your presentation will look professional.