Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to Plan a PowerPoint Presentation

Many times when people do a presentation, they craft their presentation right in PowerPoint software. They do this because they believe they are saving time, by building the presentation right in PowerPoint. However, what this does is create boring slide presentations. Following are steps in planning a good presentation with creative and visually stimulating PowerPoint slides.
Image courtesy of suphakit73 at

1. Start by crafting the message.

The foundation of a good presentation is clarity of thought. Considering the message involves understanding your audience, what you want to say, and what you want the audience to do in response. When you know who you are talking to, you will know how to craft your message. And if you know what you want your audience to do in response to your message, you will know how to keep your message focused.

2. Determine how PowerPoint will illustrate what you say.

Too often PowerPoint plays the role of displaying the written speech, during the speech. However, PowerPoint’s power is it's ability to enhance what you say in a visually compelling manner. For instance, an emotional connection to your message about hunger may be an image of a hungry child. Or if you want to highlight a literal point about finances you might use a picture of coins. And to demonstrate abstract facts you would use a graph or chart to bring the data to life.

3. Order the PowerPoint visuals.

After crafting the message and determining how PowerPoint will demonstrate what you are talking about, lay out the entire presentation visually. It’s a good idea to create thumbnail sketches with pencil and paper or with sticky notes. Try to match each sketch to key points in your speech. Try to sketch what each slide should look like and say according to the key point. Avoid having the slide say exactly what you will be saying verbally.

4. Build the slides.

Find appropriate visuals. Use sites like under their Creative Commons licenced materials,, or Wikipedia Commons. Make sure to credit any photos you use with the photographer’s name and where you got it.

Build meaningful charts and graphs. They should be simple to understand at a glance. And they should illustrate your spoken point well.

Finally, create a document for handing out, such as your notes. It’s a temptation to simply hand out the slides when requested. Try to resist this. Have a handout ready to explain more in detail what you had presented. Your audience will appreciate you for it.

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