Tips for better PowerPoints

finger with a face image drawn on it, various symbols in the background with a blue speech bubble next to the finger

It’s been a while since I’ve had to do a presentation, and now that people are starting to really come back to campus, I wanted to properly prepare for a hybrid audience – with some physically in the room and the rest accessing the presentation virtually.

I rehearsed a couple of times with some friends in the room and we deliberated after this to come up with some of the top things we all found that worked best.

Top tip to think about before you getting started – try putting together your slides after you’ve outlined your content. Don’t just use your slides when you’re brainstorming your content. The slides are your communication tool.

  1. Don’t read from your slides. Make sure your audience is focused on you. Use your slides instead as visual aids that complement what you are saying.
  2. Use appropriate font size. I either use Calibri or Sans Serif in 40 size to make sure even those in the back of the room can read any text clearly. This is also still a good font size to use when you’re presenting virtually.
  3. Draw your audience’s attention to what you want them to see. Use bold font for important words. Make an image or chart larger. Use colours to emphasize important words or data.
  4. Use high-quality images so that they aren’t distorted or blurry or pixelated on large screens.
  5. Use templates. Canva is great. How your slide is formatted and whether it is visually pleasant helps your audience stay engaged throughout your presentation. Remember, less is more.
  6. Avoid animations, especially for text. They can be distracting.

Good luck to all of you who are presenting. Remember, you’ve got this. Take a deep breath. You know your content. Now you’re just communicating it to your audience.

Tagged in What messes with your head, presentation, phd, student hack