Effective PowerPoint Presentations for Business Speakers

If you have been asked to speak at one of the latest business conferences to share your ideas on how your peers can improve their business, then you are going to need to master the skill of creating a great PowerPoint presentation. While many professionals think they know how to use this program effectively, very often people will find themselves overwhelmed or lost with its functions. Here are some tips you can use the next time you need to get ready to speak:

Formatting Your Slides

Effective PowerPoint presentations start with appropriately formatted slides. Don’t recreate the wheel – take advantage of free PowerPoint templates from Microsoft.

Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentations are used by almost every major business public speaker. Those with limited Microsoft Office experience may not know what kind of presentation template to use or how to format the presentation for maximum impact.

Presentation Design

PowerPoint presentation design is almost as important as the content itself. The best content can the world may not be able to overcome a distracting design, and a professional’s ability to convey information succinctly is very important. Here are some business presentation design tips to keep in mind:

  • Use short bullet points. Short phrases are better than complete sentences. Never write a paragraph. Keep in mind that PowerPoint slides are meant to display speaking points and guide the presenter and audience; they are not meant to be read word-for-word from the screen.
  • Less is more. Fewer words per bullet point results in more white space and makes for attractive slides. Size text appropriately in order to free up some white space and lend spacing between each point.
  • Use text effects judiciously. Bolding or italicizing can emphasize main points, but don’t go overboard. Too much emphasis devalues the actual point you want to get across.
  • Use uniform capitalization, headings, and font styles. If every word is capitalized in the title of one slide, do the same on the next. This promotes a good flow between slides and is not distracting. Consistent headings and font styles serve the same purpose.

Use Consistent Slide Backgrounds

Many companies (or departments within a company) have standard PowerPoint templates that everyone uses for company-wide presentations. Workers can obtain a previously-formatted presentation from a colleague and replace the old information with his or her own. If this is not an option, business PowerPoint presentation templates can be downloaded from the Microsoft Office website.

Microsoft currently offers over 40 different free PowerPoint templates with colors and text appropriate for business environments. A thumbnail-sized sample slide from each presentation template can be seen to give users a preview of the look and feel of a particular template. The PowerPoint version that the template is compatible with is listed below each file name. The website also displays a rating for each template and how many people contributed a rating.

Give Audience Members A Key Take Away

“Not only do conference attendees want to be motivated and inspired by your presentation, but they also want actionable information they can leave the event with” says Chris Adams of MotivationPing.com.

Audience members might also appreciate a hard copy of the presentation with room to take notes. This way, each person can view the presentation on screen, have the basic framework (bullet points) in front of them, and take down notes that are meaningful to them. 

They can also keep track of questions to ask at the end. Added plus: if the audience is looking at the slides on paper and taking notes, all eyes are not on the presenter the entire time. Above all, business audiences will be impressed by a professional-looking presentation that incorporates elegant graphics and text.