PowerPoint is a handy way to create great presentations. With its powerful tools to illustrate and explain complex topics and the ability to share photos it has a lot to recommend it. Those tools, however, can easily overwhelm the topic and the audience. They can confuse rather than explain, be overloaded with text and information and detract from you, the speaker.

I have seen this happen many times, especially in technical talks by graduate students describing their research projects – talks they are required to give as part of their degree requirements. When I taught courses on oral and written communications for engineering students I emphasized the need for clarity and keeping the audience's interest alive.

After listening to hundreds of technical presentations we at https://essayup.com/research-papers/ decided to put together these 5 tips for creating a clear and effective PowerPoint presentation:

1. Introduce Your Topic with Flair

A very common method for starting presentations, especially for technical talks, is to start with an outline of the topics to be covered in the speech. Although this is a very organized way to let the audience know what your talk will be about, it lacks punch. You want to capture people's interest when you introduce your topic. For example, I often start my presentation on solar energy with a slide that shows interesting photos of solar applications and briefly lists the four ways to use solar energy. It captures the audience's attention and shows what is going to be covered.

2. Use Photos, Diagrams and Charts to Entertain and Explain

Use photos and diagrams to help explain the subject matter and add interest to the presentation. Photos should clearly illustrate what you are trying to show. Diagrams and charts should be as simple as possible, illustrating one main concept. Keep text on these to a minimum and take the time during the presentation to go through the diagrams and graphs. If the audience is focusing on you and your talk, they won't have time to figure out what your diagram or graph represents. Point out and explain the main features, describe what a graph shows – including what the axes represent.

3. Use Text to Create an Easy to Follow Presentation

Provide written points for the audience to make the presentation easier to follow and remember, but don't overdo it. There should only be 2 to 4 points per slide and they should not be more that 6 or 7 words long. It's best if an interesting photo accompanies the points.

The key to effective presentations is to create an impact with clear and interesting PowerPoint slides that are easy for the audience to follow.

Put numbers and stats as points on your slide for clarity and emphasis. It also helps you by having the numbers on the screen in front of you so that it's not necessary to check your notes.

The points on your slide should make sense on their own, even though they are just a skeleton of your overall information. Presentations are often made available for the audience so that they have the information available later and don't have to take notes during the talk. This means that you want enough information to make the presentation understandable even without the accompanying talk. This requires some tradeoff between adding enough information and keeping the writing on the slides to a minimum. You want people to focus on what you are saying, not on reading the slides.

Speaking of focusing on what you are saying, sometimes people are distracted either through some noise or activity that suddenly happens next to them or because something you said has made their minds temporarily wander. When they return to your talk they are trying to pick up the thread again. That is where a few clear points on a slide can really help them pick up where they lost you and be able to follow the rest of your presentation.

4. Relate the Summary of Your Talk to Your Audience

It is very common to provide a summary slide at the end of the presentation. This is a good idea to help the audience remember and understand what you've said. It's also a good place to show how the information you've presented relates to them and, if appropriate, how they can act on what they've heard.

5. Leave a Lasting Impression

Don't let your last slide say "Questions?"!! I've seen this so many times – what a loss of opportunity! You want to leave a lasting impression with your last slide, or use this to give your company information. After all, this slide will stay on the screen while you are answering questions so will get much more viewing time than any of your other slides.

Well designed PowerPoint slides will make your topic clear and interesting to your audience and will help you to give an organized and focused talk. Captivate your audience and leave them with a lasting impression.