Presentations are just as common requirements in class as papers are. In fact, presentations often serve as supplements or counterparts to written works. For instance, a lot of professors require students to present the contents of their research papers in class. While there are now many tools for creating presentations that students can choose from, PowerPoint remains a popular choice. However, creating a PowerPoint presentation is not just about transferring text from your paper to your slides. In creating a PowerPoint presentation, the key is knowing what to put in the Slides and Notes and following the guidelines of effective layout and design.
One of the important things to know when making a PowerPoint presentation is what to put in the slides. Slides refer to what the audience actually see on the screen. When completing the slides, make sure that you present your information, ideas, or main points in a concise way. For instance, if your presentation is about climate change and your subtopics include the causes of this problem, do not write entire paragraphs. Instead, write them as short phrases or sentences.
If your slides present your information, ideas, or main points in a brief manner, then the notes section is where you provide more details. This is where you expand, explain, or elaborate on the content of slides. Also, make sure that the content of your notes follows the same organization and flow of the slides’ content.
Layout refers to how the different elements in your slide are arranged. These elements include the texts, sections, images, and the spaces in between. Try to follow these tips when making a PowerPoint presentation.
- Text. Keep your text short. Choose a font style that is easy to read and professional-looking. Ensure that its size is not too small that it’s difficult to read and not too big that it overwhelms the slide.
- Sections. Keep sections separate from one another. For instance, if you are starting on a new section or subsection, move on to the next slide and include headings or subheadings rather than try to squeeze it in a previous slide.
- Images. Images include any pictures, graphs, tables, and charts among other visual elements. Include only images that are relevant, such as when they present data or illustrate ideas. Also, they should not be too big or too small. Finally, graphs, tables, and charts should always be accompanied by descriptions or explanations in the notes.
- Spacing. Place enough space between the different elements of your presentation. This means that you should not force so many elements to fit in one space, since overcrowding can make your presentation confusing, overwhelming, and ineffective.
Design refers to the attractiveness of your presentation. Generally, your presentation should be appealing and interesting. The tips below can help you make effective decisions when designing your presentation.
- Background. Use a simple background that contrasts with the elements of your presentation. For instance, do not use a background that is too colorful, since it can make reading of the content difficult. PowerPoint actually offers a lot of good templates you could choose from.
- Text. As said earlier, use a font style that looks professional and easy to read. Use a color that contrasts with the background, yet is also easy on the eyes.
- Color. Add a little color to your presentation so as to make it visually appealing and interesting, but do not overdo this or your presentation may end up looking loud and tacky.
- Effects. Add some effects to your presentation, but keep them to a minimum. Effects should also be quick and simple. For instance, you don’t want your audience spending 10 seconds just to see a complete slide.
Even the best-crafted presentation will not be effective if you are not prepared. So, make sure that you know what you are talking about by reviewing your work, rehearse in front of a mirror as you would for a speech, or have a test audience such as a friend, classmate, or family member, and assume a confident attitude.
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