Proper Slide Formatting
- Generally, text size on a PowerPoint slide should never be less than 24 points. Use a font that is easily readable; don't use fancy script styles. Each of your points should ideally be less than 15 words, begin with a bullet and not include punctuation at the end. Choose a font color that is in high contrast to your background. If you are using a photograph as your background, either change the object formatting of your text boxes to include a colored fill, or reduce the opacity of your image so that the text is clear and legible. Also, you will generally not want to make more than five points per slide.
Consider Your Audience
- The style of your PowerPoint should be determined by your audience. If the tone of the meeting is a formal one, cartoonish clipart and frequent bouncy animations could make your presentation look silly. A presentation at a less formal occasion, such as an elementary school fundraising assembly, might call for a whimsical approach. Remember that if your presentation includes sound, you will need sound amplification suitable to the size of your audience. For a board room setting, simple computer speakers are fine, whereas if you are in a banquet hall, you may need a portable PA system.
- Handouts give your audience a way to interact with your content during your presentation. After you finish your work on the PowerPoint, click on "File" and "Print." In the Print dialog box, select what type of handouts you'd like to print. Three slides per page is a good format if you'd like to give participants a place to write notes; six slides a page is appropriate for giving your audience a quick overview. More than six slides per page will be difficult for some audience members to read. Prepare more handouts then you'll think you'll need and offer to email the presentation to attendees if you run out of copies.
You are the Presentation
- Practice your delivery; review the PowerPoint and think through what you will say ahead of time. The goal is not to keep the audience focused on the PowerPoint; the focus of the audience should be on you. Don't read from your slides; read from your printed notes, if you need to read. Talk to the audience, not to the screen.