A PowerPoint presentation is basically a presentation of ideas through slides on the computer. Unlike reports, which can be presented in various formats, a PowerPoint presentation requires the speaker to explain the content of their presentation in the easiest way possible. Therefore, one rule of thumb of writing a PowerPoint presentation is conducting good research. We know that writing these academic and professional presentations can be tricky, especially if you are a first-timer. Thus, in this article, we will break down PowerPoint Presentations for you step by step. Let's begin with the obvious.
A PowerPoint presentation, as mentioned above, is not a report. This means that you are not required to go into much detail. The goal is to discuss a subject using the shortest explanation possible. Let's say that your boss has asked you to create a PowerPoint presentation about a new product that the company is launching. The idea is to discuss all the critical elements of the project articulately. Keep in mind that you may be needed to make this presentation in roughly 30 minutes or less. This should help you determine what information to include and what information to leave behind. Sometimes, all the information you gather may feel important, but remember, no one wants to listen to you ramble for an hour – it gets boring for both you and your audience. The same case applies to an academic presentation. Your professor has only two hours to listen to 50 of his students make their presentations. Too much information will make your audience miss out on your presentation's main points. Clarity, logical order and an attention-grabbing start and finish are essential to a successful PowerPoint presentation.
While all this may sound complicated and scary, I promise you it's not.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Mind-blowing PowerPoint Presentation
Conduct a Detailed Research
Just because you should not include all the details in the presentation does not mean you cannot conduct detailed research. Besides, the research is what will help you differentiate helpful information from unimportant material. Begin by deciding what topic you want to write about (if you are yet to), then write it down. This helps you come up with a solid thesis, which you will then base your presentation on. An example of a topic is "The Benefits of Using the Internet as a Classroom Aid." Once you have written this down, thesis ideas will begin to flow into your mind. A possible thesis for this topic could be something like:
"In this new day and age, using the Internet as a classroom tool is a sure way of improving the education system by enhancing students' access to educational content and their understanding of concepts."
Take Note of the Main Points
Once you come up with a topic and clear thesis, it is time to pinpoint the relevant ideas. Remember, if your thesis is debatable, then it should not limit you. You should be able to come up with as many supporting points as possible. List down all the points you come up with regarding your topic, either top-of-mind or from your research. Afterward, go through the list and identify which of those points are more important. Assume that the topic of the presentation was part of a competition, then think about which of those points would undoubtedly help you become the winner.
Develop an Outline
An outline becomes easy once you have done your research and identified your main points. The outline is like a sketch or draft that enables you to assess whether the material you have gathered is too much or insufficient. The outline follows the format of the PowerPoint presentation but with minor detail. The format is inclusive of an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. The information for each of these headings is presented in point form. For the introduction, you are expected to write a summary or background for the topic you are covering and a thesis. See the below example:
The advancement of technology has benefited many sectors, among them the education sector.
The use of the Internet in schools has in recent days surpassed administration duties.
Its benefits as a classroom aid override its determinants.
In this new day and age, using the Internet as a classroom tool is a sure way of improving the education system by enhancing students' access to educational content and their understanding of concepts.
Under the main body, you are expected to come up with topic sentences for the main points and supporting evidence for each. For example, the main points for the topic we chose may be as follows: The Internet facilitates better communication; It makes carrying out research much more accessible; it facilitates flexibility; it is a powerful e-learning tool that connects learners and teachers beyond the classroom. These four points are then discussed separately, each with its supporting ideas, in point form. See below examples:
Facilitates quick communication
Allows simultaneous communication with a large group of people
Communication can be done remotely.
Saves capital while reducing wastage of resources
Tool for Conducting Research
Reduces student's overdependence on teachers
It saves time for both learners and teachers.
Acquisition of more detailed results
Easy access to learning material
Saves time and money used up during commutes
Eases the burden of sharing documents for both teachers and learners
Allows access to education across all age groups, including those with busy schedules
Minimizes classroom congestion in large institutions
Powerful E-learning Tool
Facilitates remote access to education
Availability of reading material
Facilitates flexible study schedules
The final step to completing your outline is the conclusion. The conclusion should end with a bang, just like the introduction. Keep in mind that you are trying to persuade your audience to agree with your research or adapt to your thinking. Ask yourself what the highlight for your presentation is, or rather, what do you hope to communicate? To achieve this, you may consider reaffirming your thesis and brushing over your main ideas. You may wish to use a famous quote that relates to your topic or make up your own that is likely to grab your audience's attention. See the example below:
The Internet is indeed an excellent classroom aid.
Besides its flexibility, it is effective research, and e-learning also improves communication.
Its benefits outweigh any disadvantages that arise.
More importantly, once the tool has been implemented, it becomes easier to manage the disadvantages.
Technology is here to say; we might as well use it to our advantage.
Write Your PowerPoint Presentation
Once the outline is complete, you will find it easier to write your PowerPoint presentation. Basically, the above outline will be what you will write in your slides. Each of the headings will occupy its slide, meaning that your presentation for this particular topic should have seven slides, inclusive of the first slide containing the title. Therefore, before proceeding to type your outline, you should write a title on the first slide. Make sure that your title is creative and catchy so that your audience is hooked even before the introduction. Write your title in uppercase and bold it so your audience can easily see it. Then type the rest of the outline in the subsequent slides.
After this part is complete, you are expected to go back to your slides and add speaker notes. Now, this should be easy, especially if you conducted thorough research. Basically, speaker notes are a more detailed explanation of the points on your slides. Think of it as the explanation you will give while making the presentation since you will be required to do more than just stating the points. For instance, while explaining the e-learning benefit of the Internet, you cannot just state the points listed on your slide and move along to the next slide. Your audience will have nothing to take away from it. Thus, in the speaker notes, you will need to explain how facilitating remote access to educational content makes the Internet a powerful e-learning tool and classroom aid. Be detailed but not too detailed – include just enough information to convince your audience to agree with you. Also, do not forget to make it interesting.
If it is your first time writing a presentation, you do not have to worry as PowerPoint presentations are pretty easy to figure out. Once you have opened a new window on your PowerPoint, your first slide (the title slide) will appear. The first slide includes a section for adding the title and one for the subtitle. If you have no subtitle, you can click on the layout command on the Home option on the navigation pane and select the layout labeled "Title Only." Then after that, you may proceed to add slides depending on the number you need. The option for adding slides (New Slide) is also found on the Home option. Selecting the drop-down button enables you to pick a suitable layout for your presentation. The "Title and Content" layout is commonly used as it allows you to add a variety of content such as text, tables, videos, pictures, and graphs. As for speaker notes, once you click on the Notes option on the bottom of your window, a section for adding notes appears. Select "Click to add notes" to type your speaker notes.
Finally, you must choose an engaging PowerPoint template design. This is because the relevance of your content is dependent on your creativity. You could have the most remarkable presentation and still end up boring your audience. However, an appealing template design will capture their attention before you even begin the presentation.
Simple PowerPoint Presentation Tips To Get You Started
Keep all designs as simple as possible
PowerPoint presentations need to be attractive, but an overly decorated presentation disrupts the information being presented.
Keep the mantra of less is more when handing PowerPoint presentations as you go.
A simple design should still be appealing. Your audience will be more interested in watching or listening to a presentation if it is aesthetically appealing.
The Microsoft PowerPoint Application has templates of designs that one can choose from quickly.
When you access the application, several templates are displayed. This is where you can decide to choose the best templates that meet your presentation.
Color and Font
Strive to use standard fonts and colors. However, whatever color you choose, always ensure that it is simple and people can comfortably read and see your presentation.
In most cases, font change is not useful. Therefore, stick to official fonts such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Georgia.
For font size, you can keep adjusting until they fit the page.
Unlike a word document, font size 12 may be a bit smaller in a PowerPoint Presentation.
When writing PowerPoint presentations, you may need to enhance your paper using photos and other graphics. In that regard, ensure that all attachments are of good quality. This will attract the reader's attention, which is the point of using presentations.
Words Per Slide
Do not provide so much information in one slide. Highlight the main points and write additional points in the next slide or as a speaker note.
Speaker Note is a feature of a PowerPoint Presentation where a writer can write additional information of the points highlighted on the slide. During the presentation, your audience will not see this part. In essence, this part is to help you better articulate your sentiments.
The slides need to be presentable but remember the message you want to pass across is as important. Before you start writing a presentation, write an outline, which will tell what will come first and why. The best way if jotting it down and revising it severally before you can start writing the paper.
Write your points in a word document, then copy them to your slides after you are satisfied with the information presented. What is most important will always come first. Keep that in mind!
Lastly, know your audience and write the presentation according to that. Studying one's audience is an essential step in writing, as it will help the writer understand how they should present information.
Edit your presentation severally to eliminate any mistakes (language and grammar) that might be present and yet not visible. If possible, you can use an extra eye (a friend) to help rate your presentation. This way, by the time you are presenting your message, the presentation will be flawless.
Do not emphasize the outer look of the presentation that you miss writing the correct information.
Over formatting your points or design. Simplicity is key to an effective PowerPoint. Emulate that as you write your points.
PowerPoint slides should have less than 150 words if possible. Presentations are pointers. More information will be dispensed during a presentation. Therefore, limit the number of words you put on each slide.