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Structuring Your Talk: TOPIC HOW TO PREPARE POWER POINT PRESENTATION Preparing a talk always takes far longer than you anticipate. Start early!

  • Write a clear statement of the problem and its importance.
  • Research. Collect material which may relate to the topic.
  • Tell a story in a logical sequence.
  • Stick to the key concepts. Avoid description of specifics and unnecessary details.
  • If you are making a series of points, organize them from the most to the least important. The less important points can be skipped if you run short of time.
  • Keep your sentences short, about 10-20 words each is ideal. This is the way people usually talk
  • Strive for clarity. Are these the best words for making your point? Are they unambiguous? Are you using unfamiliar jargon or acronyms.

Preparing Your Slides:

Presentation Design

  • Don’t overload your slides with too much text or data.
  • FOCUS. In general, using a few powerful slides is the aim.
  • Let the picture or graphic tell the story. Avoid text.
  • Type key words in the PowerPoint Notes area listing what to say when displaying the slide. The notes are printable.
  • Number your slides and give them a title.
  • Use the “summary slide” feature in slide sorter view to prepare an Agenda or Table of Contents slide.
  • Prepare a company logo slide for your presentation.
  • You can add a logo and other graphics to every slide using the slide master feature.
  • Proof read everything, including visuals and numbers.

Keep “like” topics together

  • Strive for similar line lengths for text.

Visual elements

  • A font size of 28 to 34 with a bold font is recommended for subtitles. The title default size is 44. Use a san serif font for titles.
  • Use clear, simple visuals. Don’t confuse the audience.
  • Use contrast: light on dark or dark on light.
  • Graphics should make a key concept clearer.
  • Place your graphics in a similar location within each screen.
  • To temporarily clear the screen press W or B during the presentation. Press Enter to resume the presentation.


  • Font size must be large enough to be easily read. Size 28 to 34 with a bold font is recommended.* It is distracting if you use too wide a variety of fonts.
  • Overuse of text is a common mistake.

o Too much text makes the slide unreadable. You may just as well show a blank slide. Stick to a few key words. o If your audience is reading the slides they are not paying attention to you. If possible, make your point with graphics instead of text. o You can use Word Art, or a clip art image of a sign, to convey text in a more interesting way.


  • Numbers are usually confusing to the audience. Use as few as possible and allow extra time for the audience to do the math.
  • Numbers should never be ultra precise:

o “Anticipated Revenues of $660,101.83” looks silly. Are your numbers that accurate? Just say $660 thousand. o “The Break Even Point is 1048.17 units. Are you selling fractions of a unit? o Don’t show pennies. Cost per unit is about the only time you would need to show pennies.

  • If you have more than 12-15 numbers on a slide, that’s probably too many.
  • Using only one number per sentence helps the audience absorb the data.


  • Use the same scale for numbers on a slide. Don’t compare thousands to millions.
  • When using sales data, stick to a single market in the presentation. Worldwide sales, domestic sales, industry sales, company sales, divisional sales, or sales to a specific market segment are all different scales. They should not be mixed.
  • Cite your source on the same slide as the statistic, using a smaller size font.


  • Charts need to be clearly labeled. You can make more interesting charts by adding elements from the drawing toolbar.
  • Numbers in tables are both hard to see and to understand. There is usually a better way to present your numerical data than with columns and rows of numbers. Get creative!
  • PowerPoint deletes portions of charts and worksheets that are imported from Excel, keeping only the leftmost 5.5 inches. Plan ahead.


  • Backgrounds should never distract from the presentation.
  • Using the default white background is hard on the viewer’s eyes. You can easily add a design style or a color to the background.
  • Backgrounds that are light colored with dark text, or vice versa, look good. A dark background with white font reduces glare.
  • Colors appear lighter when projected. Pale colors often appear as white.
  • Consistent backgrounds add to a professional appearance.
  • For a long presentation, you may want to change background designs when shifting to a new topic.


  • Slides for business presentations should be dull! You don’t want to distract the audience.
  • Sounds and transition effects can be annoying. Use sparingly.
  • Animation effects can be interesting when used in moderation

o Too much animation is distracting. o Consider using animated clip art o Consider using custom animation

  • You can insert video and audio clips into PowerPoint
  • You can also insert hyperlinks.

Hints for Efficient Practice: Timing - Practicing Your Presentation,

  • Talk through your presentation to see how much time you use for each slide.
  • Set the automatic slide transition to the amount of time you want to spend discussing each slide.
  • Are you using the right amount of time per slide? Decide which slides or comments need alteration to make your presentation smoother.
  • Change the automatic slide transition settings for individual slides to fit the amount of time needed for that slide and practice again. Are you still within the time limit?
  • Decide if you want to remove the automatic slide transition feature before giving the presentation.


  • Make a list of key words/concepts for each slide Read through the list before you begin.
  • Don't attempt to memorize your text;
  • Your words will probably be different each time you practice.
  • Think about the ideas, and your words will follow naturally.

Delivering Your Talk: Pre-Talk Preparation

  • Plan to get there a few minutes early to set up and test the equipment.
  • Dress appropriately for your audience.
  • Turn off your cell phone.


  • Edward Tufte, the leading expert on visual presentation techniques, advises speakers to always prepare a handout when giving a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Make about 10% more handouts than you expect to use.
  • Distribute handouts at the beginning of your talk.


  • Jump right in and get to the point* Give your rehearsed opening statement; don't improvise at the last moment* Use the opening to catch the interest and attention of the audien* Briefly state the problem or topic you will be discussion Briefly summarize your main theme for an idea or solution.


  • Talk at a natural, moderate rate of speech* Project your voice.
  • Speak clearly and distinctly.
  • Repeat critical information.
  • Pause briefly to give your audience time to digest the information on each new slide.
  • Don’t read the slides aloud. Your audience can read them far faster than you can talk.

Body Language

  • Keep your eyes on the audience
  • Use natural gestures.
  • Don’t turn your back to the audience.
  • Don’t hide behind the lectern.
  • Avoid looking at your notes. Only use them as reference points to keep you on track. Talk, don’t read.


  • Always leave time for a few questions at the end of the talk.
  • If you allow questions during the talk, the presentation time will be about 25% more than the practice time.
  • You can jump directly to a slide by typing its number or by right-clicking during the presentation and choosing from the slide titles.
  • Relax. If you’ve done the research you can easily answer most questions.
  • Some questions are too specific or personal. Politely refuse to answer.
  • If you can’t answer a question, say so. Don’t apologize. “I don’t have that information. I’ll try to find out for you.”


  • To end on time, you must PRACTICE!
  • When practicing, try to end early. You need to allow time for audience interruptions and questions.


  • Show some enthusiasm. Nobody wants to listen to a dull presentation. On the other hand, don’t overdo it. Nobody talks and gestures like a maniac in real life. How would you explain your ideas to a friend?
  • Involve your audience. Ask questions, make eye contact, use humor.
  • Don’t get distracted by audience noises or movements.
  • You’ll forget a minor point or two. Everybody does.
  • If you temporarily lose your train of thought you can gain time to recover by asking if the audience has any questions.


  • Close the sale.

Concisely summarize your key concepts and the main ideas of your presentation.

  • Resist the temptation to add a few last impromptu words.* End your talk with the summary statement or question you have prepared. What do you want them to do? What do you want them to remember?

submitted by USHA MOURYA