Want to deliver a more effective presentation when using slides? Here are the top ten Power Tips to help you deliver a more professional presentation using PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote.

Tip #1: Don’t base your presentation on the slides. People came to hear you speak, even if it is an internal business update. Use a slide to add to the information you are delivering, but don’t make the slide itself the main content. A slide is a part of your presentation, not the main focus.

Tip #2: Don’t read the slides. There is never a reason for you to read any material on a slide. Your audience learned to read in the first grade of school. Don’t insult them. It is especially annoying to listeners when someone reads a quote from a slide. Your job is to comment on the material, explain it, interpret it, but never to just read it.

Tip #3: Don’t turn your back on the audience. It is very rude and makes you look like a novice if you turn around to look at the slide that is projected behind you. Keep your laptop open in front of you to see the slide or print your presentation and have the printed slides on the podium or table in front of you.

Tip #4: Don’t write complete or full sentences on bullets. Use a short phrase or even a single word. Instead of “We need to offer greater discounts to repeat customers,” the bullet could simply be, “customer discounts.” Now you the speaker can add the details about what kind of customers get the discount and how much.

Tip #5: Use a large text font. If the font on the slide is too small, it can annoy your audience. Choose a font that can be seen by people in the back of the room. Professional presenters use at least 16 point, and some even suggest 18. Titles should be at least 32 point. And never apologize by saying, “I’m sorry if everyone can’t read this.” Design all slides to be readable.

Tip #6: Limit animations. PowerPoint lets you apply many different animations and effects: words can fly in, shapes can swirl around. For most business presentations these can be annoying and they send a message that you are a novice presenter. Avoid them.

Tip #7: Avoid using complex charts. Data can be overwhelming, and most audiences don’t need nor can they remember all your data. Make charts simple so that one or two data points are highlighted, not ten.

Tip #8: Have a consistent look and feel. Choose one or two complementary colors that you use throughout the deck; your deck should not look like a rainbow. Also, when you use images, be sure they are all consistent. A similar color background on jpgs or the same size is an easy way to create a consistent look.

Tip #9: Create chapter or section slides. Especially when presenting a long deck, it’s important to break the slides into logical sections. Think of a book. It has very clear chapters. That’s how you should design your deck: three or four chapters or sections is ideal. Before each chapter, place a simple section slide that “announces” the title for each section. This structure is a great help to any audience.

Tip #10: Limit the number of slides. Do you want to sit through a 60-slide deck? Most audiences wouldn’t either. If you speak for 2 or 3 minutes per slide, 10 slides is more than enough for a half-hour presentation. Don’t rush through the slides, spend enough time on each one to give the audience some in-depth content.

Ultimately, learning to present using PowerPoint is a skill. The more you do it, the better you become.

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