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A guide for PowerPoint presentations

By Mark W. Kaelin Editor ·
A TechRepublic member, ceciledc22, asked for some guidelines for creating a GOOD PowerPoint presentation. I found a few old references in the archives, but I suspect the community here in the Discussion Center will have some ideas to share.

What makes a good presentation, whether it's made with Powerpoint or crayons and paper? Are there some guidelines that apply to any presentation?

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by Oz_Media In reply to A guide for PowerPoint pr ...

I have seen MANY tacky PP presentations, people use the godawful WordArt to plaster titles across pages, FLASH things with those annoying stock PP sounds and motions etc.

One of my favorite PP add-ons is Power Transitions (found everywhere online) they offer nice slide transitions without the tacky zips and blind effects of stock Power Point.

I find the most successful slide shows nowadays seem to be those that resemble a website. text links, and simple hide/show effects on the slides themselves.

I have a REALLY awful example that a MAJOR and I mean MAJOR equipment manufacturer sent me to use in a presentation to a multi-million dollar prospect on the island, I made my own in the end as I certainly wouldn't have used the slides with purple Word-Art on them. Several weeks after closing the deal, I emailed their controller and showed her the presentation I was sent by the manufacturer, she said in no uncertain terms,(Quoted from email) "You deinitely wouldn't have aquired a million dollars from us if you had used THAT junk!"

So try not to be too flashy, people don't like it in a business proposal. Keep backgrounds simple, a white backer or even a watermarked logo is fine.

THE most important part of ANY presentation is the way in which content is written. No more "we provide", try "You will receive", no more "We can..." try "what we will do". Will is a very closed ended statement that assumes the sale, perhaps have sales staff or management help with the copy if you are not focused that way, but the copy is IMPERATIVE. I have seen so many presentations that are just bells and whilstles that either don't answer questions or simply have no direction or trial close statements to them.

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Professional Work

by melekali In reply to A guide for PowerPoint pr ...

My advice when creating power point slides for the bosses is to not try to make them too flashy, such as using a different fade out, but to make them easy to read in terms of color scheme and easy on the eyes with text size. Depending on whom I am creating slides for depends on the level of information I include, but I prefer short to-the-point bullet statements that give maximum information in minimum space. There's no rooom, for superfulous (extra) information that does not really directly bear on the subject at hand. If you can say it directly, don't try to beat around the bush. Get right to the point and get to the next point.

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Agree with OzMedia plus..KISS!

by GaijinIT In reply to A guide for PowerPoint pr ...

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) - Gene Simmons

1) Avoid overly flashy presentations. 'Whiz-bang' effects detract from your impact, not emphasize it - keep your audience's attention on what you are pitching - especially stupid sounds like alarms, sirens, even arrows 'thunking' into targets. You are not making a Saturday morning cartoon show. Graphic images (used sparingly) for highlighting are okay, but I find Microsoft's Clip Art amateurish). Invest in a CD/DVD of clip art collections. And use them tastefully.

2) Buy a good book on graphics design for marketing (I know, I know, but Powerpoint is primarily a tool for convincing someone of something or selling something - what marketing is all about). People have been doing this for a long time, and there are some good resources available at cheap prices.

3) Stick with simple contrasting color themes (surprisingly, Microsoft does offer some good advice on this on-line) and fonts. 'WordArt' is not ony glaring, it's hard to read! Don't blind anybody. Purple and lime green contrast, but don't work.

4) MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY AND A TIMEFLOW!! Start by making your Master Page/template as you want it (I NEVER use the stock templates, they seldom have the text formatting I want). Write down a list of all the topics you want to cover in the right order (storyboard), use that to create an outline, then 'flesh it out' with graphics and text. Present your arguments, then convince them of your point of view, backed up with references/case histories/evidence.

5) Don't put too much information on one page - easy viewing means large fonts and empty spaces to focus attention.

6) Learn as much as you can grasp about using Powerpoint's tools - there are a lot of them. Powerpoint is not the only program that does a good job of making presentations and slide shows, but let's face it, Office and Powerpoint is what most people have and use.

7) If Powerpoint doesn't work for you, then use something else and save it as a 'free running' slide show (Deneba's Canvas has some nice tools, its graphic capabilities are MUCH stronger than Powerpoint's, and it comes with a NICE collection of clip art).

I'm sure others have ideas just as good and probably better, but whatever tools or methods you choose, be professional and pay attention to detail. Have fun!!

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by Oz_Media In reply to Agree with OzMedia plus.. ...

That's a joke right?

Sorry mate, you just can't credit Gene with that one, no matter how many women he's *&$^%#!

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Read it somewhere...

by GaijinIT In reply to K.I.S.S.

I read an interview with Gene several years ago and he said that the secret to their popularity was sticking with the iidea of simple, hard-driving kick-a** rock and roll, and that's why they named their band KISS. Maybe it's B.S., but I didn't originate it.
Oh well, another illusion from my youth shattered...

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It is possible

by Oz_Media In reply to Read it somewhere...

They NAMED the band after the phrase, i thought you were attributing the phrase to Gene simmons though by stating a quote and then listing Gene Simmons after it. Well yes, I suppose that you DID attribute it to Gene then! :)

Still love the guys though, I got to hang at a meet and greet party with them on Millenium New Years Eve, they played Vancouver. They were SUPPOSED to stop at midnight and do a countdown, 10 kids had won a radio contest to go on stage at midnight and do the countdown with them, well Ace was pissed as always and just solo'd right through midnight. Gene Simmons just about coughed up a lung on a chorus so they took the cue to stop and say Happy New Year About 12:15 and then played 'til about 1:00 AM. The beer was flowing all over the stadium, it was a real free for all, concert seating (no assignments) and just a BIG PARTY!

Despite Gene's constant need for beautiful women, the others guys were really laid back and chatty a good night out to say the least.

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Less is More

by GSG In reply to Agree with OzMedia plus.. ...

I made my own master template that is tastefully branded in the business colors... Cream, Burgandy, and dark Blue. The Burgandy and Dark Blue are used sparingly as accents.

A power point is not a novel. It's an outline. You should never be able to just read a power point to your audience. Use the bullet points as a reference and flesh out your presentation verbally.

As far as graphics go, use them sparingly. For example, I recently did a long presentation. I used a small graphic of a computer mouse to denote where I had links to webs or other documents. Whenever the group was completing an exercise, I used a black and white graphic to denote that the page was an exercise page just for ease of following along. Other than that, I wouldn't use graphics just to have them in a presentation.

A good guideline is to remember that you are a professional trying to sell products to professionals. You are not a teacher trying to hold the attention of 30 sugared and caffeinated 5 year olds.

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