So you need a little help with a PowerPoint presentation? They aren’t easy to make, contrary to everyone’s beliefs. It’s more than typing some bullet points on a few slides and calling it good. If want an amazing PowerPoint presentation for class, a conference, a client meeting–whatever the important project might be–it takes creativity and skill to win over your audience with a simple PowerPoint presentation.

Here’s how you can stand out:

Ditch Ordinary or “Loud” Slides

Don’t opt for a plain PowerPoint presentation and don’t choose one of the most bold ones either. Choose (or even create) a design that represents your brand and what you are trying to portray. Plain slides are boring, and your audience will lose interest quickly. “Loud” slides will distract your audience from the content.

You want your PowerPoint slides to be visually appealing, but without over-doing it. Think modern. Here is an example of a good PowerPoint presentation.


Click to enlarge.

If you’re not tech-savvy, no worries. There are plenty of free PowerPoint templates available on the web to help guide you through this process.

Avoid Being Too Wordy

PowerPoint presentations, most of all, have the reputation for containing too many bullet points, too many words, and run-on sententes. That’s no fun for your audience to read. Remember, the presentation is simply a guide–a visual-aid. Give them some words to digest, but ultimately they will be listening to you as you following along with infographics and data.

Be Smart With Text and Colors

The last thing you want to do is bore your audience, but you also don’t want to do is make the back row squint to see the presentation. Rule of thumb: always make sure your audience can read the slides from any angle or distance. Additionally, avoid loud colors that might also clash with your text. Use subtle colors that allow fluid reading without causing strain on your audience members.

Clean Out Spelling and Gramatical Errors

You might think your PowerPoint presentation is perfect, but comb through those bullet points on last time. Catch any errors and fix those. Your audience will be reading everything, and trust me–they will catch those errors, and all they will think about is how you used the wrong form of “to” when you should have used “too.”

Save Your Presentation as a PDF… Just in Case

First and foremost, save that piece of hard work on a flash drive before anything else. Next, save it as a PDF. Why? If you are traveling to a conference hall to give a presentation, for example, and you must do so on someone else’s computer, they may not have PowerPoint installed. That is a major problem. Save it as a PDF so you have a hard copy of the presentation.

If you can, travel with your own computer to avoid this hassle.

Giving the Presentationpowerpoint-presentation-orange

Now that you’ve made the presentation, the next step is to give the presentation–clearly the most nerve-racking part. Here are some quick tips to how you can give an outstanding presentation:

Don’t Read From the Slides

If there’s one thing school should teach, it’s to never read from a PowerPoint slide. This is often everyone’s last resort if they become nervous. Don’t give in. Have notecards or an outline to use in the event you lose track of your thoughts, but don’t rely on those either. This brings me to my next tip.


They can be your friends, but also your worst enemies. If you are carrying the notecards while presenting, no problem. If you read from them constantly without ever looking up, big problem. Anything you have in your hand may distract from your relationship with the audience. Engage with your audience.

Make Eye Contact

Eye contact in a presentation shows leadership and confidence. It also shows you know what you’re talking about. People will trust you more, and also listen.

Speak Up

Don’t be shy–your audience will grow bored. Make sure to speak up and really project your voice. If you have issues doing this in a large lecture or conference hall, ask if there is a microphone you can use so everyone can clearly hear you.

Don’t Stand at a Podium

But also don’t pace back and forth. Be fluid with the steps you take, but be aware that you are taking them. Pacing back and forth in front of your presentation is distracting, but standing at a podium is boring–and it doesn’t allow you much room to engage with your audience.

Dress Attire

This goes without saying, but your appearance is the first thing your audience will judge you on. If you show up in rugged clothing–you can expect your audience will be distracted by that. If you show up in business attire, such as a suit, your audience will trust you–and be more inclined to listen.

Practice, Practice, Practice

It can’t be said enough. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it comes pretty close to it. Practice makes you more prepared, even if you don’t feel like you are. Practice your speech aloud. This is when you can catch any flaws in your speech and correct them before you’re on the spot.

This is a guest post contributed by Executive Education at Michigan State University, helping groups and individuals enhance their business careers with leadership courses, lectures, and meaningful discussions.

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