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What you need to know about human perception to be great at presentations

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How to make presentations in Beautiful.ai

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Add your content and watch our slides adapt like magic.

The perfect presentation maker should have the designer built-in. This one does. So just add your notes, data, anything and snap!–messy ideas turn into stunning slides.

Make edits easily with simple, intuitive controls

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Stay on brand with customizable themes

Add your brand colors, fonts and logos to make every presentation consistent—and consistently creative. Get access to millions of stock photos, icons and videos to make an impact.

Present your best work ever

Whether you are sharing a link, presenting live, or offline, you’ll always make an impact with stunning animations that capture your audience’s attention.

Scale presentations quickly with our AI presentation maker

Bring the power of generative AI to your presentation process. Go from start to finish in seconds with our new AI presentation maker called DesignerBot. Just describe the presentation you need and watch it create your first draft like magic.

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Never start from scratch

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Forget searching endlessly for the right template or slide for your content. Dive into our library of curated presentation templates built by experts for every use case. With dynamic slide layouts, you have hundreds of ways of visualizing your content.

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17 PowerPoint Presentation Tips From Pro Presenters [+ Templates]

Jamie Cartwright

Published: April 26, 2024

PowerPoint presentations can be professional, attractive, and really help your audience remember your message.

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If you don’t have much experience, that’s okay — I’m going to arm you with PowerPoint design tips from pro presenters, the steps you need to build an engaging deck, and templates to help you nail great slide design.

→ Free Download: 10 PowerPoint Presentation Templates [Access Now]

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Buckle up for a variety of step-by-step explanations as well as tips and tricks to help you start mastering this program. There are additional resources woven in, and you’ll find expert perspectives from other HubSpotters along the way.

Table of Contents

How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation

Powerpoint presentation tips.

Microsoft PowerPoint is like a test of basic professional skills, and each PowerPoint is basically a presentation made of multiple slides.

Successful PowerPoints depend on three main factors: your command of PowerPoint's design tools, your attention to presentation processes, and being consistent with your style.

Keep those in mind as we jump into PowerPoint's capabilities.

Getting Started

1. open powerpoint and click ‘new.’.

A page with templates will usually open automatically, but if not, go to the top left pane of your screen and click New . If you’ve already created a presentation, select Open and then double-click the icon to open the existing file.

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10 Free PowerPoint Templates

Download ten free PowerPoint templates for a better presentation.

  • Creative templates.
  • Data-driven templates.
  • Professional templates.

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Creating PowerPoint Slides

3. insert a slide..

Insert a new slide by clicking on the Home tab and then the New Slide button. Consider what content you want to put on the slide, including heading, text, and imagery.

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  • Finally, PowerPoint Live is a new tool that enables you to do more seamless presentations during video calls and may be a better overall match for doing presentations remotely. Check out this video:

11. Try Using GIFs.

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12 Free Customizable Resume Templates

Fill out this form to access your free professionally-designed templates, available on:

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15. Embed multimedia.

PowerPoint allows you to either link to video/audio files externally or to embed the media directly in your presentation. For PCs, two great reasons for embedding are:

  • Embedding allows you to play media directly in your presentation. It will look much more professional than switching between windows.
  • Embedding also means that the file stays within the PowerPoint presentation, so it should play normally without extra work (except on a Mac).

If you use PowerPoint for Mac it gets a bit complicated, but it can be done:

  • Always bring the video and/or audio file with you in the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation.
  • Only insert video or audio files once the presentation and the containing folder have been saved on a portable drive in their permanent folder.
  • If the presentation will be played on a Windows computer, then Mac users need to make sure their multimedia files are in WMV format.
  • Consider using the same operating system for designing and presenting, no matter what.

16. Bring your own hardware.

Between operating systems, PowerPoint is still a bit jumpy. Even between differing PPT versions, things can change. The easiest fix? Just bring along your own laptop when you're presenting.

The next easiest fix is to upload your PowerPoint presentation into Google Slides as a backup option — just make sure there is a good internet connection and a browser available where you plan to present.

Google Slides is a cloud-based presentation software that will show up the same way on all operating systems.

To import your PowerPoint presentation into Google Slides:

  • Navigate to slides.google.com . Make sure you’re signed in to a Google account (preferably your own).
  • Under Start a new presentation , click the empty box with a plus sign. This will open up a blank presentation.
  • Go to File , then Import slides .
  • A dialog box will come up. Tap Upload.
  • Click Select a file from your device .
  • Select your presentation and click Open .
  • Select the slides you’d like to import. If you want to import all of them, click All in the upper right-hand corner of the dialog box.
  • Click Import slides.

When I tested this out, Google Slides imported everything perfectly, including a shape whose points I had manipulated. This is a good backup option to have if you’ll be presenting across different operating systems.

17. Use Presenter View.

In most presentation situations, there will be both a presenter’s screen and the main projected display for your presentation.

PowerPoint has a great tool called Presenter View, which can be found in the Slide Show tab of PowerPoint. Included in the Presenter View is an area for notes, a timer/clock, and a presentation display.

For many presenters, this tool can help unify their spoken presentation and their visual aid. You never want to make the PowerPoint seem like a stack of notes that you’re reading off of.

Use the Presenter View option to help create a more natural presentation.

Pro Tip: At the start of the presentation, you should also hit CTRL + H to make the cursor disappear. Hitting the “A” key will bring it back if you need it.

Your Next Great PowerPoint Presentation Starts Here

Now that you have these style, design, and presentation tips under your belt, you should feel confident to create your PowerPoint presentation.

But if you can explore other resources to make sure your content hits the mark. After all, you need a strong presentation to land your point and make an impression.

With several templates to choose from — both in PowerPoint and available for free download — you can swiftly be on your way to creating presentations that wow your audiences.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Design a Professional PowerPoint Presentation

Our series of tips on presentation design outlined some generic rules and ideas that you can live by to create better, more professional presentations. Today we want to follow that up by taking you through the actual process of designing a presentation from start to finish.

We’ll break down every step of the design process, from choosing colors and images to using whitespace properly. After reading through this you should be all set to design your own beautiful presentation slides that will put your coworkers to shame.

Using a pre-built PowerPoint template can be a good starting point for many people (we collected some of the best PowerPoint templates for you!). But if you’re wanting to design your own from start-to-finish, you’re in the right place!

2 Million+ PowerPoint Templates, Themes, Graphics + More

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The X Note

Minimal PPT Templates

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Modern PPT Templates

New & innovative.

Maximus Template

Maximus Template

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BeMind Minimal Template

Pitch Deck Templates

Pitch Deck Templates

Startup pitch deck.

Explore PowerPoint Templates

A Word About Content

I usually make a big deal about content preceding design, and presentations are no exception. Ideally, you’ll have the topic and much or all of the content outlined before you even think about design. This will in every way shape the appearance of your design, which is why working from pre-built templates isn’t always the best move (though generic templates can and do work great in some circumstances).

The reason that I bring this up is that I don’t really have an actual presentation in mind for this project. I’ll be running with a basic theme, but the textual information will be entirely placeholder copy. Your image, font, color and layout selection shouldn’t necessarily match mine but instead reflect the topic and content you’re working with.

Choosing A Color Scheme

Before I even open Photoshop (yes, I design PowerPoint/Keynote slides in Photoshop and drop them in), I want to find a color scheme on which to base my entire design. When I need to quickly find several colors that go together I usually start with Adobe Color CC . Not only is it a great way to build your own color schemes, it’s an outstanding source to find schemes built by others that you can just grab for your projects.

As luck would have it, I liked the very first color scheme I saw upon opening Color. This scheme was featured on the home page and looked like a great place to start for our presentation design.

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Now, if you wanted to get everything exactly right, you could make a list of the RGB or Hex values, but I prefer a quicker, more direct route. What I usually do is snap a screenshot of the color scheme, paste it into my document and stretch it across the canvas on its own layer for easy access. This way I can quickly activate the layer, eyedropper the color I want, then hide the layer and get back to work. It’s a bit like having a palette of colors to dip your paintbrush in.

Designing Your Cover Slide

Now that we have a color scheme, the design work is going to be much simpler. One trick that designers often use in presentations is to leverage the color scheme as heavily as possible. If you’re new to design, you’ll likely think that this is too easy, too plain or even that it’s cheating somehow, but trust me, it’ll be much more attractive and professional than that horrid Microsoft clipart library you love so much.

To start, simply grab one of your colors from the scheme you chose and flood the background of your slide with it (I chose #631c25). Good job, there’s your background. Don’t freak out. It’ll look great. Now let’s throw in some typography.

Choosing a Font

Font choice is a major issue for non-designers. The tendency is to think that most fonts are “boring” and to look around for something exciting and fun. This inevitably leads to the use of Comic Sans or some other equally hideous font.

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Unless you’re an elementary school teacher, your presentations should never look like this. Instead, why don’t you try one of those “boring” fonts to see if you can come up with something you like.

Combining fonts can be a tricky task and can take a trained eye to pull off. Fortunately, font designers have already created collections that work well together and if you’re not a designer, they make it easy to pull off great typography. The trick is to just stay in a family. Again, I know this sounds lame, but it works really well if you make sure the two styles you choose are very different.

For instance, I chose a Helvetica Bold Condensed and a Helvetica Light for my cover slide. Notice how different the fonts are from each other in terms of thickness. Choosing two styles that are relatively close causes visual confusion and should be avoided as a general rule of thumb. Instead, what you want is contrast and plenty of it.

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Alignment and Layout

Notice a few things about the way I set up this slide. First, I used a strong left alignment for the text. As I say in just about every design article I write, center alignment should be a last resort, not a first. It tends to be the weakest text alignment that you can choose, having a hard edge increases readability considerably (notice that book pages aren’t center-aligned).

Also, notice the generous whitespace that I used. Remember that you don’t have to eat up every inch of space. Giving your text room to breathe helps your layout immensely and gives the design a clean look.

Adding an Image

At this point you might be wondering why you wasted your time reading so I could give you such plain advice. The truth is, most people that create presentations could improve them by 100% from following the advice above. However, I realize minimalism may be too extreme for some folks so let’s throw in an image to make it look nice.

Since our text is on the left, I wanted to find something a little heavy on the right. The general theme that I’ll go for is “City photos” assuming I had some sort of architecture or city-centric presentation to give. Again, you’ll have to choose iamges relevant to your own topic.

I grabbed this Flickr Creative Commons image from photographer Ben Spreng .

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Now, if we just made this image our background, the text would become unreadable and we would be ditching our color scheme. What we’re going to do instead is set it on top of the colored slide and set our blending mode to Overlay. Then throw your opacity to around 45%.

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As you can see, this helps the slide look much more interesting but keeps the text and colors fairly intact. It’s a simple solution that adds a lot of interest to an otherwise plain design.

Adding Content Slides

The cover may seem like it’s only a tiny part of the battle, but you’ve actually already set the tone for the entire presentation. You’ve got your theme, color scheme and fonts already in place. Now you just need to set up a few different layouts for your content.

The thing to keep in mind is to keep everything extremely simple, and that includes the level of content that you include. Apart from design, these are just good presentation tactics that you’ll learn in every public speaking class. Filling your slides with everything you’re going to say makes you unnecessary. You could just email everyone the slides and shut up.

Instead, the slides are merely meant to be a visual aid. Show a slide with your overall topic or main point, then speak the rest, without reading. Nothing is worse than watching a guy read his note cards word-for-word for thirty minutes, except perhaps watching a guy turn his back to the audience so he can actually read his slides out loud to you the whole time! You may laugh, but I’ve seen it happen folks.

For our first content slide, we’ll grab another Flickr photo and set it to the bottom portion of our slide at full bleed. Then we’ll set the top to another color from our scheme and toss in some text using the same exact formatting that we used on the cover.

screenshot

See how this closely resembles the theme we’ve already established while still looking significantly different? This is they key to good presentation design: cohesiveness without redundancy.

Now for our third slide, we can simply do the inverse of the second slide with a new color and a new image .

screenshot

Adding Informational Elements

It would be nice if every slide ever presented could work in a full bleed image, but the truth is that this simply isn’t practical. It will often be the case that you’re presenting graphical information or some other item that isn’t necessarily a photo.

My advice here is to try to stick as close to your theme as possible. For the slide below I flooded the entire background with a solid color from our original scheme and made a quick 3D graph with white columns (I drew a few flat boxes in Illustrator and applied a 3D effect).

screenshot

As you can see, this slide is very information-focused and yet it doesn’t sacrifice the aesthetics and simplicity we’ve already established.

You’re All Set

From here you might come up with one or two more alternate slide designs and then rotate between them for the duration of your speech. The result is a presentation that is beautiful, very readable and highly professional. The bonus is that the simple, straightforward design will probably result in less work than a clip-art-filled horror show.

Most of the time, great design doesn’t mean being particularly artistic or knowing how to create amazing complex layouts. Instead, it’s about presenting information in an attractive and user-friendly way. With this goal in mind you realize that you’re probably trying way too hard if your end result is ugly. Try cutting out half or more of the elements on one of your slides and giving what’s left a strong left or right alignment with plenty of whitespace.

I hope this article has convinced you to abandon that clip art gallery once and for all. The benefits of clean, minimal design in presentations are clear: the information is easier to take in and the end result is more professional than the mess of information you typically see in presentation slides.

Of course, if you’re looking to get started quickly, flick through our collection of the best PowerPoint templates to find a beautiful set of pre-made designs!

10 PowerPoint Tips for Preparing a Professional Presentation

Use these Microsoft PowerPoint tips to avoid common mistakes, keep your audience engaged, and create a professional presentation.

Professional presentations are all about making an impact. Your slides should look the part. Once you know what makes a presentation look professional, you can customize any half-decent PowerPoint template or create your own custom slides.

Our PowerPoint tips will help you avoid common mistakes, keep your audience engaged, and create a professional presentation, in form and content.

PowerPoint Slide Design

The design can leave a first and lasting impression. Give it a professional touch to win your audience's trust and attention.

1. Carefully Compose Your Slides

Don't copy and paste slides from different sources. You don't want your presentation to look like a rag rug. What you're aiming for is a consistent look. This will help your audience focus on the essential; your speech and the key facts you're highlighting on your slides.

To that end, use a basic template or make your own . PowerPoint comes with a wide selection of professional PowerPoint presentation templates , but you can also find free ones online.

PowerPoint Tip: When you open PowerPoint, note the search field at the top. One of the suggested searches is "presentations". Click it to see all of PowerPoint's default presentation templates. Choose a category on the right to narrow down your search.

Pick an easy to read font face . It's hard to get this right, but these professional-looking Google fonts are a safe bet. Unless you're a designer, stick to a single font face and limit yourself to playing with safe colors and font sizes.

If you're unsure about fonts, refer to "The 10 Commandments of Typography" shown below for orientation.

Carefully select font sizes for headers and text. While you don't want to create a wall of text and lose your audience's attention, you do want them to be able to read what you've highlighted. So make your fonts large enough.

PowerPoint Tip: PowerPoint offers several different slide layouts. When you add a new slide, choose the right layout under Home > New Slide . To switch the layout of an existing slide, use Home > Layout . By using the default layouts, you can make coherent design changes across your presentation anytime you want.

Leave room for highlights, such as images or take home messages. Some elements should stand out. So try not to bury them in background noise but give them the space they need. This could be a single quote or a single image per page with nothing but a simple header and a plain background.

Decorate scarcely but well. If you have good content, you won't need decoration. Your template will be decoratively enough.

Note: Restrict the room your design takes up, and don't ever let the design restrict your message.

2. Use Consistency

Consistently use font face and sizes on all slides. This one goes back to using a template. If you chose a professional presentation template, the designer would have taken care of this aspect. Stick to it!

Match colors. This is where so many presentations fail. You might have chosen a funky template and stuck to the designer's color profile, then you ruin it all with ugly Excel charts .

Take the time to match your visuals to your presentation design.

Text and Background Colors

A poor choice of colors can ruin your presentation.

3. Use Contrast

Black text on a white background will always be the best, but also the most boring choice . You're allowed to use colors! But use them responsibly.

Keep it easy on the eyes and always keep good contrast in mind. If you're color-challenged, use one of the many online tools to select a good looking color palette. Or just use a template and stick to its default colors.

PowerPoint Tip: Use PowerPoint's Design menu to quickly change the font and color palette of your entire presentation using preset design layouts.

4. Apply Brilliance

Carefully use color to highlight your message! Colors are your friends. They can make numbers stand out or your Take Home Message pop.

Don't weaken the color effect by using too many colors in too many instances . The special effect only works if used scarcely. Try to limit pop colors to one per slide.

Make a brilliant choice: match colors for design and good contrast to highlight your message . Use a professional color palette, to find which color will work best with your theme. Use The 10 Commandments of Color Theory shown below to learn more about colors:

Text on PowerPoint Slides

K eep I t S traight and S imple. That means...

  • Keywords only on your slides.
  • Absolutely no full sentences!
  • And never read your slides , talk freely.

Remember that your slides are only there to support, not to replace your talk! You want to tell a story, visualize your data, and demonstrate key points. If you read your slides, you risk losing your audience's respect and attention.

PowerPoint Tip: Afraid you'll lose your train of thoughts? Add notes to your slides. Go to View and under Show click Notes to make them show up under your slides while editing. When starting your presentation, use PowerPoint's presentation mode (go to Slide Show and under Monitors , check Use Presenter View ), so you can glance at your notes when needed.

6. Take Home Message

Always summarize your key point in a Take Home Message. Ask yourself, if your audience learned or remembered one single thing from your presentation, what would you like it to be? That's your Take Home Message.

The Take Home Message is your key message, a summary of your data or story. If you're giving an hour-long presentation, you might have several Take Home Messages. That's OK. Just make sure that what you think is key, really matters to your audience.

Make your Take Home Message memorable. It's your responsibility that your audience takes home something valuable. Help them "get it" by making your Take Home Message stand out, either visually or through how you frame it verbally.

Presentation Visuals

Images are key elements of every presentation. Your audience has ears and eyes, they want to see what you're talking about, and a good visual cue will help them understand your message much better.

7. Add Images

Have more images in your slides than text. Visuals are your friends. They can illustrate your points and support your message.

But do not use images to decorate! That's a poor use of visuals because it's just a distraction.

Images can reinforce or complement your message. So use images to visualize or explain your story.

Use a sufficient image resolution. Your visuals might look good on your desktop, but once blown up by a projector, low-resolution images will make your presentation look anything but professional. So choose a resolution that matches the projector's resolution. If in doubt, don't go below a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels (XGA) and aim for 1920 x 1080 pixels (FullHD).

Always maintain your image's aspect ratio. Nothing looks more awkward than a distorted image. Whatever you do, don't stretch images. If you have to resize them, do so with the aspect ratio intact, even if that means dropping slightly above or below your target resolution.

PowerPoint Tip: Need a visual, but don't have one at hand? PowerPoint is connected to Bing's library of online images you can use for your presentations. Go to Insert and under Images select Online Images . You can browse by category or search the library. Be sure to set a checkmark for Creative Commons only , so you don't accidentally violate copyrights.

Note: Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. In other words, if you don't have time for a thousand words, use a picture!

PowerPoint Animations and Media

In animations, there is a fine line between a comic and a professional impression. But animations can be powerful tools to visualize and explain complicated matters. A good animation can not only improve understanding, it can also make the message stick with your audience.

8. Don't Be Silly

Sparingly use animations and media. You should only use them in one of two cases:

  • To draw attention, for example, to your Take Home Message.
  • To clarify a model or emphasize an effect.

Embed the media in your presentation and make sure it works in presentation mode. Testing your presentation at home will save you time and avoid embarrassment.

Target Your Presentation Content

Your target, i.e. your audience, defines the content of your presentation. For example, you cannot teach school kids about the complicated matters of the economy, but you may be able to explain to them what the economy is in the first place and why it is important.

9. Keep Your Audience in Mind

When you compile your PowerPoint presentation, ask yourself these questions:

  • What does my audience know?
  • What do I need to tell them?
  • What do they expect?
  • What will be interesting to them?
  • What can I teach them?
  • What will keep them focused?

Answer these questions and boil your slides down to the very essentials. In your talk, describe the essentials colorfully and use your weapons, i.e. text, images, and animations wisely (see above).

Note: If you fail to hit the target, it won't matter how ingenious your design is or how brilliantly you picked colors and keywords. Nothing matters more than your audience's attention.

10. Practice Your Presentation Like a Professional

A well-practiced and enthusiastic talk will help you convince your audience and keep their attention. Here are some key points that define a good talk:

  • Know your slides inside out.
  • Speak freely.
  • Speak with confidence, loud and clear.
  • Speak at a steady pace, better too slow than too fast.
  • Keep eye contact with your audience.

Bonus: Implement the 10/20/30 Rule

The 10/20/30 rule is a concept brought forward by Guy Kawasaki:

It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

A similar concept is PechaKucha , a storytelling format limited to 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide, i.e. less than seven minutes to conclude the presentation.

Now there's a challenge! Telling your story succinctly, might help you get through to some of the busiest and most distracted people on the planet.

One Final PowerPoint Presentation Tip

I've shown you how to think through your entire presentation, from choosing a design to speaking to your audience. Here's a mind trick: never try to interpret the looks on your listeners' faces. Chances are, you're wrong. Just assume they're focused and taking notes.

You've done your best to create a professional PowerPoint presentation that will help your audience focus on the content and learn new things. The looks on their faces aren't doubt or confusion. It's focus! Well, d'oh! Obviously, you're the expert, and they're the learners. If you can get into this mindset, you can relax and perform at your best.

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Choose unique fonts.

Pick from over 17,000 high-quality fonts from Adobe Fonts to make your information organized and easy to read. User-friendly font styles make slides simpler to digest.

Start with Adobe Stock.

Find inspiration with Stock assets. Use Stock photos for stunning background images or transitional slides, and use Stock to find a presentation template as a basis for your custom design.

How to design a presentation from scratch.

With some creativity, and these simple steps, you can create a custom presentation with InDesign.

  • Find the right page size. Whether you’re presenting a keynote on a massive screen or creating for mobile devices, start by selecting the dimensions you’ll use for your presentation.
  • Choose your background. Pick a striking background image that works with text overlay. The deck’s title can also become part of the background.
  • Create paragraph styles. Create no more than three text styles so you can keep the title font, body font, and footnote font consistent throughout the presentation. Set paragraph styles to change font and size with a click of a button.
  • Set up master pages. Create a few master pages to help ensure your presentation looks professional and well designed. Add image and text frames to the master pages so you can drop your content in later without having to overthink the layout.
  • Add images and text. Drag and drop Photoshop (PSD) files, PDFs, Illustrator (AI) files, JPEGs, PNGs, or GIFs into the image frames. To add text, just copy and paste text files or select the Type tool from the toolbar and type directly into the text frame.
  • Add page numbers. Insert page numbers to keep you and your audience on the same page. InDesign can automatically number the slides.
  • Add finishing touches. From movies and sound clips to hyperlinks, cross references, and page transitions, you’ve got plenty of interactive options to make your story more compelling.
  • Export your slide deck. The final step is to export your presentation in a format that can be projected or distributed in any presentation program. Exporting as Adobe PDF (Interactive) lets you play or click through interactive content in real time during the presentation.

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  • Presentation Science

The Complete Guide To Creating A Captivating Professional Presentation

  • By: Leslie Belknap

. Do you have a presentation in the near future, but don’t know how to start preparing for it?

You’re in luck!   Included below are 10 steps to help you create a truly captivating presentation, and avoid creating a conference room killer  – the infamous, dreaded  Death By PowerPoint presentation.

If you work through each of the 10 steps below, as well as watch the included videos, and review the embedded resources, you will have all of the information you could ever need to create a stunning, professional presentation, instead of a boring conference room killer presentation.

The key to success is starting early so you have ample time to complete each of the 10 steps thoughtfully. So go ahead and begin immediately; don’t delay. These tips will help you start, and finish your presentation like a presentation professional .

If you have questions about any of these tips, contact us .  We’re here to help you create amazing presentations!

10 Steps To A Captivating Presentation

1. describe your presentation in one sentence.

presentation idea

Simplify your presentation topic to a one-sentence summary before you begin writing or designing your presentation.  If you cannot explain your presentation in one sentence, you are not ready to create your presentation.

The one-sentence description serves as a compass during the content development process, making it easy to explore supporting ideas without getting lost in the sea of possibilities.  

If you think your idea is too big for a one-sentence summary , consider that  Daniel Pink , the chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1997, and author of three  New York Times  bestsellers, suggests writing a one-sentence summary for the purpose of your life. If it is possible to define your life in one sentence, it is undoubtedly possible to encapsulate any presentation in one sentence.

Pink derived inspiration for his advice from a story about Clare Boothe Luce,  the  first American woman  to represent her country to a major world power.  In 1962 Luce said to John F. Kennedy,  a great man is one sentence.  Luce advised Kennedy to write a one-sentence summary.  She was telling him to concentrate, to know the great themes and demands of his time and focus on them , according to the  Wall Street Journal  article,   To-Do List: A Sentence, Not 10 Paragraphs .

Summary: Write one sentence that describes your presentation topic. Think of the one sentence as your elevator pitch for your presentation. If you were riding the elevator to go up only one floor, how would you explain your presentation to someone in that short amount of time? This is your one sentence statement, and the heart of your presentation.

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2. Identify the 3 main takeaways of your presentation.

rule of three

Once you have clearly defined your presentation topic with a one-sentence statement, your next step is to identify the three main ideas of your presentation. These three ideas will be the pillars of your presentation.

To identify the three pillars, ask yourself, “If the audience will only remember three things about my talk, what do I want those three takeaways to be?” Ask yourself this question because most likely audience members will indeed only remember three ideas from your entire presentation.  You will build the rest of your presentation around these three pillars, which ultimately support your core message as defined in your one sentence summary.

Every element of your presentation should, in one way or another, connect to one of your main three ideas. If you are considering including an element that cannot be directly linked to one of your three pillars, ask yourself, “Is this really necessary?” If you decide that you absolutely must include something that seems to not connect to one of your three main ideas, consider reframing the seemingly unrelated point so it can connect to one of your three main ideas, or consider changing your selected three pillars.

Summary: For inspiration, think of the Latin phrase Omne trium perfectum,  which means  everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete . No matter the topic or length of your presentation, the “rule of three” should be used to structure your presentation content. By only providing three main takeaways, your presentation will be easier for your audience to remember, and your main points will be easier for you to recall when you’re presenting.

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3. Get Real.

create professional presentation

After you have sculpted your one sentence summary and three pillars, start developing your content to support your three main ideas. Your supporting content is your opportunity to talk about your research, data, and case studies.

According to a Buffer article ,  one study published in Communication Research  found that a whole week after reading, passages with statistics were  more persuasive  than passages  driven by story . As you will read later, this claim is disputed, and many people think stories are more persuasive than data. Don’t worry about which is more important though because you will need both. Thus, if you have some data to prove your points, select your strongest stats, and use them to add weight to your ideas. Just don’t overdo the data. Get to the point, and keep moving so you don’t lose your audience by wading through unnecessary details.

As you construct your first draft of your supporting content, continually ask yourself, “So what?” Many audience members will listen to a presentation, process the information, consider the points, and then think, “What’s in it for me?” or  “Why does this matter?” Basically, they are thinking, “So what? Why should I care?”

You need to drive home the value of your material throughout your entire presentation . If you would be unable to respond to an audience member who asked, “Why should I care?” in response to a particular piece of your content, delete that point.  Every point should be relevant to your message, and your audience. If you do not answer these questions, some audience members will probably think your presentation was a waste of their time.

When considering your answer, think about what keeps your audience up at night. What are their problems, concerns, and challenges? Can your insights and ideas solve a problem for them?

As you continue to develop the supporting elements of your presentation, keep a “devil’s advocate” mindset . Once you have ensured all of your points will be meaningful to your audience, review your content from perspective of an audience member with an opposing viewpoint.

For example, it might seem like no one could argue with a presentation that proposed the idea of giving away food to prevent hunger. However, don’t forget the saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man, feed him forever.” Sharing food is a noble mission however there will still be someone who disagrees with your solution to the problem. Develop your content to sway audience members with opposing viewpoints.

Summary: Support your presentation with facts that will resonate with your audience, including any disagreeing attendees. In addition, clearly answer “So what?” for the audience. No presentation is exempt from this requirement. Get real, and cut the fluff.

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4. Find Your Story.

storytelling presentation public speaking

At this point you have defined your presentation with one sentence, identified the three pillars of your topic, and crafted your supporting content to satisfy challenging perspectives.  

Take a good look at all of these elements and then step away from working on your presentation. This is the time to do a little soul searching.  Go for a walk, write in your journal, or engage in other activities that will open your mind to inspiration.

Search your memories until you remember a story that easily relates to your presentation topic. No presentation is complete without at least one story so don’t skip this step.

Storytelling is an important part of all presentations because many credible sources claim stories are easier to recall  than stats or facts. Descriptive tales can activate up to 7 areas of the human brain, while non-narrative information typically activates only two areas of the brain.

With so many areas of the mind engaged, listeners  experience  the story instead of process  it. In addition, a carefully crafted story will likely inspire emotional reactions from audience members.  Emotions, not logic, inspire most actions .

So, not only will audience members remember a story more easily than facts, a story is also more likely to inspire action. Since all presentations need a  call to action , the more you can inspire your audience to take action, the more successful you will be as a presenter.

Learn more about the power of stories for presentations by reviewing the infographic below.

Summary: Tell at least one story during your presentation. Don’t settle for just any story, though. Take the time to select a relevant story that will spark an emotional response within audience members. To inspire action, speak to the heart as well as the mind.

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How To Find A Story To Enhance Your Public Speaking Presentations

How To Prepare A Story For A Business Presentation

Watch These Videos To Improve Your Storytelling During Presentations

5. Identify a clear call-to-action.

call to action

Now that you have developed content that guides your audience to a new perspective, decide what you want the audience to do next.  

Do you want your audience to use their knowledge to grow their business? If so, quickly reiterate the process to take that action, and then send them on their way with an easy-to-remember homework assignment. Provide your contact information so they can let you know how the process went for them.

Do you want people to follow you on social media? If yes, then at the end of your presentation, ask audience members to pull out their mobile devices and follow you right then and there.  Provide an incentive to encourage engagement.

If you want your audience to purchase your product, how can you simplify that process for them? Perhaps you can sell your goods in the lobby after your talk. If that is the case, your call-to-action should be an exciting request to join you in the lobby to check out your product firsthand.  

No matter your topic, your presentation should be structured so that audience members are not left hanging, wondering what to do with their newly acquired insights.

If you choose to include a Q&A session in your presentation, do not end with the Q&A. You always want to end with a quick summary of your most important points followed by your call-to-action. To insert a Q&A before your conclusion, say something like, Before I wrap-up by telling you how to utilize these insights, I would like to open the floor to questions for two-minutes. Does anyone have any questions?

To persuade your audience to complete your call-to-action, try some of these persuasion techniques :

Summary: Use the last sentences of your presentation to deliver a clear call-to-action. Tell your audience what they should do after your presentation. In addition, offer an incentive, and create a sense of urgency.

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The Ace Up Your Sleeve: 6 Proven Methods of Persuasion

The Science of Influence – And What It Means For Your Presentations

6. Outline your slides as a storyboard.

presentation content outline

At this point, you have done most of the heavy lifting in regards to content development. Your content might be a collection of notes and ideas, or perhaps it looks like a college essay. Either way, now is the time to organize your content in a storyboard. A storyboard is an outline that lists the words and numbers you will include on each slide, as well as notes about the design for the slide. You don’t need to start designing yet, however this is a great time to start thinking about your presentation design since that will be the next step once your storyboard is finalized.

To begin the first draft of your outline, list your three main ideas, your stories, and your call-to-action. By first jotting down these elements, you ensure that these critical components will be the focus of your presentation. Leave room in your outline to fill in the supporting ideas later.  

Also, have your one sentence summary nearby and reference it regularly throughout the storyboard process. Even if you don’t state your one sentence verbatim during your talk, your audience should be able to easily grasp the central idea of your presentation.  If it is appropriate to feature your one sentence summary on a slide as-is, go for it!

With these items roughly in place, focus on the content for the first few slides of your presentation. These slides are significant because you need to have a strong start to your presentation. Easing an audience into a presentation, and slowly building towards a conclusion is a recipe for mediocrity. Instead, hook your audience’s attention immediately, or risk losing them forever.

To engage your audience at the beginning of your talk, consider asking a question – either a rhetorical question, or a genuine question that includes a request for a show of hands. If you have mastered the art of humor, get your audience smiling by telling a funny story at the beginning of your presentation.

In addition, you can wake up the audience during the beginning of your presentation by revealing a shocking fact. For example, you could say, “10 years from now your job will not exist.” If you’re speaking to a group of ambitious professionals, this information will surely spark their interest.

Now that you have some ideas for the beginning of your presentation, pick a solution that seems like the best fit for your speaking style, your topic, and your audience. If you’re not sure how to start your presentation, you might need to continue researching your audience. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to edit and refine your slide outline.

After you develop the first few slides, continue to move through your outline by filling in the supporting ideas for your three main points . Remember that your outline should inspire the audience to take a specific action at the end of your talk. Craft your slide outline so that it builds towards your call-to-action.

In addition, when you arrange your content, try to include only one idea per slide.   Keep your ideas succinct since you will need to enhance your message with a visual on each slide. This might seem excessive if you typically use bullet points or numbered lists to cram a lot of information on one slide. You might save some time on your presentation development by using bullet points, but your audience will likely be bored to tears during your presentation, and you will not be as successful with your presentation as you could be.  

In 2014, the  International Journal of Business Communication  published the results from  The Use of Visualization in the Communication of Business Strategies , an experiment conducted to gather empirical evidence regarding whether the use of visualization is better than text in the communication of a business strategy.  

The results of that study confirmed that lists of text and bullet points should be avoided for presentations . Specifically, the study concluded : Subjects who were exposed to a graphic representation of the strategy paid significantly more attention to, agreed more with, and better recalled the strategy than did subjects who saw a (textually identical) bulleted list version.

In summary, bullet point lists kill presentations because your audience will struggle to pay attention to your lists, agree with your lists, and recall your lists.  Those three reasons should be enough to convince you to never use bullet points again.

Once the first draft of your outline is complete, step away from your storyboard. When you are refreshed, return to your content outline and look for holes in your logic, as well as unnecessary information, or lulls in the energy of your talk.

Edit, edit, and edit again . Don’t be afraid to alter some of the foundational elements of your talk, as long as you ensure all of the critical pieces are included after your edits are complete. Also, check to make sure all of the required content pieces still fit together appropriately after your revisions to the storyboard. For example, if you decide to change one of you three pillars because it no longer resonates with you, make sure your revised pillar still fits with your one sentence summary, as well as the other two pillars and your call-to-action.

Summary: When you organize your content in a storyboard format, stay focused on your one sentence summary, your three main points, and your call-to-action. Only include supporting content that relates to these critical components. Also, craft an exciting introduction, and remember to include only one idea per slide.

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The Complete Guide to Editing Presentation Content

7. Create a mood board to guide your design.

presentation designer agency

Since your content is now rock solid, you can start planning your presentation design . To ensure your design is consistent and intentional, don’t launch into designing slides without first creating a mood board.

What is a mood board? A mood board is a curated collection of influences that form a map for you to follow during the design process.  

Mood boards typically include a color scheme, your few selected fonts, photography style samples, icons, and a few design samples that match your ideal look and feel.

Ethos3.moodboard.example1

When developing your color scheme, take your time. Colors can dramatically influence the emotions and behaviors of viewers, so don’t rush and select colors impulsively.  Since reactions to colors vary across cultures, genders, and ages, do your homework to know what colors are the most appropriate for your presentation, and your specific audience.

For presentations, fonts are just as important as color scheme, images, and layout.   Limit yourself to using one or two fonts throughout the presentation. Too many different fonts might distract the audience, and effective fonts are something that should live in the background of your presentation. The audience shouldn’t necessarily notice them in any particular way; they should simply work with the content presented. Choose fonts that flow with the theme, narrative and content of your presentation.

Tools to Help Create Mood boards:

1.  Adobe Suite   (In-Design, Illustrator, Photoshop) Adobe Suite can be time intensive to learn, but allows you play with layouts and bring some of the proposed elements/inspiration into the design of the moodboard.

2.  Evernote – A quick and easy way to store thoughts and images through text, recordings, and images. Both mobile and desktop versions are available.

3.  Pinterest – A highly visual moodboard where you can save images from the internet to their respective “boards” or upload your own.

4.  Sampleboard – An online concept creation tool that is basically a Pinterest board on steroids. It allows users to search by color, palette, or pattern and share with ease.

5.  Adobe Color CC : To design with a unified color scheme, start by visiting Adobe Color CC; it is one of the best tools available for presentation designers when selecting color schemes. Both a web-based tool and a free app, Adobe Color CC allows you to explore and create infinite color schemes.

If you’re not sure how to devise a mood board with a look and feel that will resonate with your target audience, create a few mood boards and share them with colleagues who are similar to the demographic of your presentation audience.   Let their preferences guide your design decision.

Summary : Just like most people create a Pinterest board before remodeling a room in their house, you need to create a mood board before designing your presentation.  Carefully select fonts, colors, and inspiration pieces to build a mood board that can guide your design process.

How To Choose Fonts For Presentation Design

Design Presentations with Consistent Color Schemes

8. Design your slides.

design powerpoint slides

The slide design stage is exciting because you finally get to see your presentation blossom into a beautiful masterpiece of visual communication.  

If you’re tired of working on your presentation, this is another great time to take a break and replenish your personal creative resources. If you get sloppy during the design process, you are essentially throwing away all of your hard work.

For example, if you select visuals that don’t directly support your message, your audience members will exert unnecessary mental energy trying to connect the visuals to your concept. All of the time you spent refining your content will be wasted because your audience will not be listening to you if they are too busy trying to understand your seemingly unrelated design . Visuals should simplify your message for your audience, not muddy the meaning of your presentation.

So, how can you design slides that enhance your message?  Think BIG. Big visuals and big text are ideal for presentations because they keep your audience from straining to view the elements on your slides.

The slides below are good examples of big visuals and big text.

presentation designer

To create slides with big visuals, aim to use visual elements that can cover the entire slide. Never place a small visual in the center of your slide, and leave the rest of your slide empty. If your visual elements are low resolution and will pixelate if stretched to fill the slide, use the rule of thirds to find an appropriate place for your visual on the slide. However, if possible, avoid low-resolution elements at all costs.  Low resolution visuals can quickly kill your credibility.

presentation design

In addition, question every design element you choose to include. Look at your slides from the perspective of an audience member who is unfamiliar with your presentation topic. Will they understand your choice of visual elements? For example, if you want to use a photo on a slide about the power of storytelling , you might want to skip over stock photos that show someone reading a book in a library, and instead opt for a picture featuring a group of people laughing around a campfire. Yes, the images that feature someone reading in a library relate to storytelling , but they do not relate to the power of storytelling. However a photo of people telling stories around a campfire demonstrates the bonding that occurs as a result of storytelling.  You need to be this nit-picky when selecting visual elements. Every detail matters when it comes to slide design .

Before you declare your presentation design complete, show your slides to a few unbiased friends who are similar in demographic to your target audience. Take their feedback seriously. If your slides don’t resonate with them, you need to make changes until the feedback is positive.

Summary : To stay on track during the design process, revisit your mood board and storyboard as you create every slide. Check to make sure you are using the correct content, fonts, colors, as well as visual elements that match your intended look and feel. Every detail matters.

The Ethos3 Presentation Design Portfolio

Free Stock Photos To Beautify Your Professional Presentations

Create Memorable Presentations With These 2 Psychology Tricks

Subscribe To The Ethos3 YouTube channel

9. Practice with purpose.

how to practice for presentation speech

Congratulations! If you’ve reached the practice stage, that means you have successfully written and designed your presentation.

Since there are many ways to practice for a talk, you should experiment with the different suggestions below. Find one that works for you and stick with it, or mix and match techniques to create your own unique approach. Whatever you do, don’t try to wing it. Some speakers worry that practice will decrease their authenticity on stage, however the opposite is true. A prepared speaker can focus on the audience, walk around the stage, and enjoy the moment, instead of focusing all of their attention on developing and delivering a structured and meaningful presentation on the fly.

The more you practice, the more authentic you can be on stage.  

For example, if you notice that audience members are falling asleep, you can spontaneously add an interactive element to your talk, and then get back on course, because you know your material that well.   If you do not know your material, being present in the moment will be nearly impossible.

As you practice your talk, don’t rehearse your content verbatim.  By practicing repeatedly in a conversational style, you will naturally learn your presentation in its entirety, however you will not feel pressured to recite your talk word-for-word when you present.

If you are only practicing in front of a mirror at home, or reading your slides from the comfort of your couch, your efforts are not going to yield impressive results. Don’t hide away when you practice your presentation.  Bring your presentation into the real world by practicing in front of real people, not the audience in your mind.   Try to make your practice feel like the real thing, as much as possible. Do not be offended by any of the given to you during the practice sessions. Remember, you are rehearsing to work out any kinks in your talk, not to collect compliments.

To prepare for presenting in front of a mentor, colleagues, or friends and family members, first  record videos of some of your private practice sessions.  Remember to stand up, use your slides, and take your practice seriously.

Try to make your practice sessions feel as much like the real thing as possible. By watching recordings of your talk you can eliminate any glaring problems with your content, slide design , or delivery.

Also, take advantage of all of the benefits of your recordings by listening to some of your practice sessions when you commute to work, or walk around your neighborhood. Listening to your presentation, instead of only reading or speaking it, will give you a fresh perspective on your material.

In order to see positive results,  studies have also shown  that your brain must engage in “mindful” practice. This means avoiding doing the same thing over and over on autopilot without actively trying different techniques and slowly working through problems.

Summary : Practice, and then practice again and again. If you know your material inside and out, you will be able to improvise to respond to unexpected occurrences or to add a conversational tone to your presentation.

The Complete Guide to Practicing Before a Presentation

Why You Need to Practice Before Presenting at a Conference

Memorize Your Speech With This Memory Trick

10. Own the stage.

body language public speaking tips

To be a great public speaker, you need to be present in the moment during your presentation. You should be tuned into the reactions and cues from the audience, as well as focused on your material.  

To be present in the moment, prepare for worst-case scenarios such as spilling coffee on your shirt before your presentation, or your laptop malfunctioning during your talk.  Think through a plan for your worst fears, and bring supplies to help you survive any technical or logistical emergencies. Once you have addressed your greatest fears, let them go, and focus on being happy, confident, and focused on the present moment.

Before you take the stage, practice some power poses to raise your testosterone and lower your cortisol.  

For example, stand like superman with your fists on your hips, and your chest expanded. Hold this pose for a few minutes to get the maximum effect. Power poses are proven to help you reduce stress, and increase confidence.

When you’re on stage, loosen up. Let your hands gesture naturally during your presentation. Research has shown that presenters are judged as more effective and competent when they make hand gestures compared with when they keep their hands still , according to  The 4 Ways You Can Use Body Language To Influence Success  by Christian Jarrett.

While gesturing, be especially aware of how you use your palms.  In his TEDx talk,  Body Language, the power is in the palm of your hands ,  Allan Pease uses humor, stories, case studies, and audience interaction to deliver a compelling case for the importance of using your palms wisely when speaking.  There are more connections between your brain and the palm of your hands than any other body part , according to Pease.  So clearly, the palms have evolved as an important part of human brains,  Pease concludes. In one of the case studies mentioned by Pease, palm orientation was tested; the study concluded  the palm up speaker had up to 40% more retention of the deal than the palm down speaker . Speaking with your palms up will make you more likable and persuasive. If you speak with your palms down, you will be perceived as threatening and controlling.

In addition, remember to smile.  A recent study at Penn State University found that when you smile, you don’t only appear to be more likable and courteous, but you actually appear to be more competent ,  according to the TED talk,  The Hidden Power of Smiling , by Ron Gutman.

Also, since you should never read from you slides, your body should be open to the audience, and your eyes should be scanning the audience. When you make eye contact with someone in the crowd, hold their gaze for a few seconds to let them know you see them, and want to connect with them. Don’t overdo it though. Keep eye contact as long as it feels natural, and then move on.

If your presentation is being filmed, look into the camera. A study between the University of Wolverhampton and Stirling discovered that viewers remembered a speaker better if they looked into the directly into the camera  at least 30% of the time  during a speech.

Lastly, move and pause during your presentation. Own the stage, and never stand frozen behind a podium. Adding movement to your presentation will help you keep the attention of your audience, and will also help you shake off any nerves.  

Summary: Prepare for the worst-case scenarios, and then let go of your fears. When you’re on stage, be happy, enthusiastic, and connect to the audience with your eyes and body language. Whatever you do – don’t just stand there . You’re presentation matters. This is YOUR time to shine.

What To Do With Your Hands During Presentations

The 3 Best Body Language Tips For Presentations

Fight Your Fear of Public Speaking – 4 Proven Methods

How An Improv Class Can Improve Your Public Speaking

How To Introduce Yourself Before A Presentation

Final Thoughts: 33 Presentation Tips

If, after reviewing the information above you still have questions or concerns about your presentation, don’t fret – we are here to help you!  Send us your questions on Twitter , or contact us via email or phone .

And if you want us to come teach your team how to create and deliver captivating presentations , we would be honored to schedule a training workshop for you and your staff.

The bottom line:   We are here to help you create amazing presentations!

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Leslie Belknap

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create professional presentations

Create professional slide layouts with Designer

Designer improves slides for Microsoft 365 subscribers by automatically generating design ideas to choose from.

While you're putting content on a slide, Designer works in the background to match that content to professionally designed layouts.

Get design ideas

Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9.

The first time you try out Designer, it may ask your permission to get design ideas for you. If you want to use Designer, select Turn on .

To learn more, see the Microsoft Privacy Statement .

Once you've turned on "connected experiences," PowerPoint automatically shows you design ideas when you're creating your slides. Over time PowerPoint learns from your experience using design ideas and shows you design ideas at the appropriate time. 

create professional presentations

Scroll through the suggestions in the Designer pane on the right side of the window.

Click to select the design you want, or else close the window. If you select one of the ideas, your slide is changed accordingly.

You can also select another idea from the pane or go back to your original slide design: Press Ctrl+Z to undo a design change you've just selected.

What Designer gives you:

A title-slide photo and a design scheme

When you start a blank presentation and enter words on the slide, Designer recommends high-quality photos that reflect the slide text, plus a design scheme with colors that complement the photograph you choose. All the slides in the presentation will fit together visually.

Sample slide of a photo suggested for a title slide.

Professional layouts

Designer detects pictures, charts, or tables on a slide and gives you several suggestions for arranging them in a cohesive, attractive layout.

Sample slide with a text timeline and photo that Design Ideas arranged and laid out.

More visuals, less text

Too much text on your slide? Designer can turn text such as lists, processes, or timelines into an easily readable graphic.

Sample slide showing a text timeline that PowerPoint Designer converted to a SmartArt graphic

Bulleted lists get suggestions for an icon to accompany each bullet item. If you don't like a suggested icon, just select it and use our on-the-spot replacement button:

If you don't like a suggested icon, you can easily replace it

Illustrations

Designer watches for key terms and concepts that it has illustrations for, and it shows you those illustrations in various layouts. The Illustrations are from the Microsoft 365 icons library.

Sample slide with a text timeline that PowerPoint Designer added illustration and design touches to.

Designer and "ink"

(Only for Microsoft 365 subscribers) Designer recognizes when you draw or write with ink, and it incorporates that content into the design ideas it shows you.

Turn off Designer

If you don't want Designer to automatically offer suggestions:

On the File menu, click Options .

In the PowerPoint Options dialog box, click the General tab on the left, then scroll toward the bottom and clear the Automatically show me design ideas check box.

Requirements

Requirements for designer on windows.

Ask for design ideas any time by choosing Design > Designer on the ribbon.

The first time you try out Designer, it asks your permission to get design ideas for you. If you want to use Designer, select Turn on or Let's go .

Once you've turned on intelligent services, PowerPoint automatically shows you design ideas when you add photos to your slides.

create professional presentations

You can also select another idea from the pane or go back to your original slide design: Press ⌘+Z to undo a design change you've just selected.

SmartArt graphics

Designer can turn text such as lists, processes, or timelines into an easily readable SmartArt graphic.

If you don't want Designer to offer suggestions:

On the PowerPoint menu, select Preferences .

Under Authoring and Proofing Tools , select General .

In the General dialog box, under PowerPoint Designer , clear the Automatically show me design ideas check box.

  • The Designer button is grayed out

If you can see the Designer button in PowerPoint but it's grayed out, it means:

You aren't connected to the internet, or

A slide isn't selected. (This can be the case when multiple slides are selected in the slide thumbnail pane in Normal view, or when the focus in the thumbnail pane is between two slides. It also is the case when the focus is in the Notes pane or you are in Slide Show view rather than Normal view.)

The Designer button isn't there

Designer is a feature for Microsoft 365 subscribers. If you don't see the Designer button, you're using an older version of PowerPoint for Mac, rather than PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 for Mac.

Requirements for Designer on the Mac

The Design Ideas button in PowerPoint for the web.

PowerPoint shows design ideas for your slide.

If you can see the Designer button in PowerPoint but it's grayed out, it means that someone else is currently also editing the slide:

If you're co-authoring a presentation with someone else and more than one person is actively editing a single slide at one time, Designer won't give design suggestions on that slide.

However, as soon as there's only person editing the slide, Designer will begin offering design suggestions again once that person does an action (such as adding a photo) that Designer can respond to.

Requirements for Designer on PowerPoint for the web

Ask for design ideas any time by choosing Design > Design Ideas on the ribbon.

When you select a design idea, it immediately appears full-size on the slide

Scroll through the suggestions in the Design Ideas pane on the right side of the window.

Undo your last action

The Design Ideas button is grayed out

If you can see the Design Ideas button in PowerPoint but it's grayed out, it means you aren't connected to the internet.

Requirements for Designer on iOS

The PowerPoint Designer toolbar button

Requirements for Designer on Android

When you select a design idea, it immediately appears full-size on the slide

Requirements for Designer on Windows Mobile

Troubleshooting.

  • Which problem are you having?
  • I don't see the Designer button
  • I clicked the Designer button, but no suggestions are offered

Design ideas are only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers

On desktop versions of PowerPoint, only subscribers get design ideas. You can try or buy a subscription here .

On PowerPoint for the web, design ideas are available to everyone.

One Microsoft 365 subscription package doesn't include design ideas: Office 365 Germany Germany .

Turn on the Office connected experiences

To use Designer, make sure that Office "connected experiences" are turned on:

Go to File > Account , and under Account Privacy select Manage Settings .

The Account panel showing the Account Privacy, Manage Settings button

See Enabling and disabling intelligent services for more information.

An administrator may have turned off Designer

Designer is a feature for Microsoft 365 subscribers, but some organizations turn off the feature. If you have an Microsoft 365 subscription but don't see the Designer button, ask your IT department.

Reinstall Office to get subscriber features

If you've upgraded from Microsoft 365 to an Microsoft 365 subscription, you need to uninstall Microsoft 365 and then reinstall in order to get the subscriber features. See the instructions in these articles:

Uninstall Office from a PC or Uninstall Office 2016 for Mac

Reinstall Microsoft 365

Restart the app to get Designer

Sometimes users find that the first time they start PowerPoint after installing Microsoft 365, the Designer button isn't available. Restarting the app fixes this problem.

If there are no design ideas available for you, a few things might be the cause. First of all:

Make sure you're connected to the Internet. Designer goes online to get its design ideas.

Use a theme that comes with PowerPoint (not a custom theme or one that you've downloaded from elsewhere).

Following are other problems and how to solve them:

No design ideas for slides with pictures

Make sure your slide has either the Title or Title + Content slide layout applied.

Don't use any additional objects or shapes on the same slide as your photo.

Use a maximum of four photos (.jpg, .png, .gif, or .bmp) per slide, and make sure they're larger than 200 x 200 pixels in size.

No design ideas for process-based slides

Make sure your slide has the Title + Content slide layout applied.

Don't use any additional photos, objects, or shapes on the same slide as your process text.

Because Designer is a relatively new service, it is still learning new tricks. If Designer can’t generate high-quality options for you, it won’t show any options at all. We're working hard to be able to generate great design ideas for more varieties of your content.

And of course, if you don’t find Designer useful, you can turn it off by going to File > Options > General , and then clearing the box that says Automatically show me design ideas .

Someone else is editing

No design ideas for slides that have shapes or text boxes.

Designer isn't able to suggest design ideas when a slide has a shape or text box drawn on it. You can have photos and you can have text in a placeholder.

You aren't connected to the internet , or

A single slide isn't selected . This can be the case when multiple slides are selected in the slide thumbnail pane in Normal view, or when the focus in the thumbnail pane is between two slides. It also is the case when the focus is in the Notes pane or you are in Slide Show view rather than Normal view.

Combining colors in PowerPoint: Mistakes to avoid

Format the background color of slides

Start with a presentation template

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14 Practical Tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills

  • The Speaker Lab
  • May 11, 2024

Table of Contents

Ever felt complete dread and fear at the thought of stepping up to deliver a presentation? If so, you’re not alone. The fear of public speaking is more common than you might think, but with the right presentation skills , it’s a hurdle that can be overcome.

In this article, we’ll help you master basic confidence-building techniques and conquer advanced communication strategies for engaging presentations. We’ll explore how body language and eye contact can make or break your connection with your audience; delve into preparation techniques like dealing with filler words and nervous habits; discuss tailoring content for different audiences; and much more.

Whether you’re prepping for job interviews or gearing up for big presentations, being prepared is key. With adequate practice and the proper attitude, you can crush your speech or presentation!

Mastering the Basics of Presentation Skills

Presentation skills are not just about speaking in front of a crowd. It’s also about effective communication, audience engagement, and clarity. Mastering these skills can be transformative for everyone, from students to corporate trainers.

Building Confidence in Presentations

Becoming confident when presenting is no small feat. But fear not. Even those who feel jittery at the mere thought of public speaking can become masters with practice and patience. Just remember: stage fright is common and overcoming it is part of the process towards becoming an effective presenter.

Taking deep breaths before you start helps calm nerves while visualizing success aids in building confidence. Also, know that nobody minds if you take a moment to gather your thoughts during your presentation—everybody minds more if they cannot understand what you’re saying because you’re rushing.

The Role of Practice in Enhancing Presentation Skills

In line with old wisdom, practice indeed makes perfect, especially when improving presentation skills. Consistent rehearsals allow us to fine-tune our delivery methods like maintaining eye contact or controlling body language effectively.

You’ll learn better control over filler words through repeated drills. Plus, the extra practice can help you troubleshoot any technical glitches beforehand, saving you the sudden panic during your actual presentations.

Remember that great presenters were once beginners too. Continuous effort will get you there sooner rather than later.

Find Out Exactly How Much You Could Make As a Paid Speaker

Use The Official Speaker Fee Calculator to tell you what you should charge for your first (or next) speaking gig — virtual or in-person! 

Body Language and Eye Contact in Presentations

The effectiveness of your presentation can hinge on more than just the words you say. Just as important is your body language .

Impact of Posture on Presentations

Your posture speaks volumes before you utter a word. Standing tall exudes confidence while slouching could signal nervousness or lack of preparation.

If there’s one lesson to take away from our YouTube channel , it’s this: good presenters know their message but great ones feel it through every fiber (or muscle) of their being. The audience can sense that energy when they see open body language rather than crossed arms.

Maintaining Eye Contact During Your Presentation

Eyes are often called windows to the soul for a reason. They’re communication powerhouses. Making eye contact helps build trust with your audience members and keeps them engaged throughout your speech.

Avoid staring at note cards or visual aids too much as this might give an impression that you’re unprepared or uncertain about your chosen topic. Instead, aim to maintain eye contact between 50% of the time during presentations. This commonly accepted “50/70 rule” will help you exhibit adequate confidence to your audience.

If stage fright has gotten a hold on you, take deep breaths before you start speaking in order to stay calm. Make sure that fear doesn’t disrupt your ability to maintain eye-contact during presentations.

If body language and eye contact still feel like a lot to manage during your big presentation, remember our golden rule: nobody minds small mistakes. It’s how you handle questions or mishaps that truly makes a difference—so stay positive and enthusiastic.

Preparation Techniques for Successful Presentations

Presentation skills are like a craft that requires meticulous preparation and practice. Aspects like visual aids and time management contribute to the overall effectiveness of your delivery.

The first step towards delivering an impactful presentation is research and organization. The content should be well-researched, structured logically, and presented in simple language. This will make sure you deliver clear messages without any room for misinterpretation.

Dealing with Filler Words and Nervous Habits

Nervous habits such as excessive use of filler words can distract from your message. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies that can address these issues. For instance, try taking deep breaths before speaking or using note cards until fluency is achieved. In addition, practice regularly to work on eliminating these verbal stumbling blocks.

Avoiding Distractions During Presentations

In a digital age where distractions abound, maintaining focus during presentations has become an even more crucial part of the preparation process. This video by motivational speaker Brain Tracy provides insights on how one could achieve this level of focus required for effective presentations.

Maintaining Confidence Throughout Your Presentation

Confidence comes from thorough understanding of the chosen topic combined with regular practice sessions before the big day arrives. Make use of note cards or cue cards as needed but avoid reading from them verbatim.

Taking control over stage fright starts by arriving early at the venue so that you familiarize yourself with the surroundings, which generally calms nerves down considerably. So next time you feel nervous before a big presentation, remember—thorough preparation can make all the difference.

Engaging Your Audience During Presentations

Connecting with your audience during presentations is an art, and mastering it can take your presentation skills to the next level. Making the message conveyed reach an emotional level is essential, not just conveying facts.

Understanding Your Target Audience

The first step towards engaging your audience is understanding them. Tailor the content of your presentation to their needs and interests. Speak in their language—whether that be professional jargon or everyday slang—to establish rapport and ensure comprehension.

An effective presenter understands who they’re speaking to, what those individuals care about, and how best to communicate complex ideas understandably.

Making Complex Information Understandable

Dense data or complicated concepts can lose even the most interested listener if presented ineffectively. Breaking your key points down into manageable chunks helps maintain attention while promoting retention. Analogies are especially useful for this purpose as they make unfamiliar topics more relatable.

Audience Participation & Questions: A Two-Way Street

Incorporating opportunities for audience participation encourages engagement at another level. It allows listeners to become active participants rather than passive receivers of knowledge.

Consider techniques like live polls or interactive Q&A sessions where you invite questions from attendees mid-presentation instead of saving all queries until the end.

This gives you a chance not only engage but also address any misunderstandings right on spot.

  • Treat each question asked as an opportunity—it’s evidence someone has been paying attention. Even challenging questions should be welcomed as they demonstrate an engaged, thoughtful audience.
  • Encourage participation. It can be as simple as a show of hands or the use of interactive technologies for live polling during your presentation. This keeps your audience active and invested in the content.

Remember, your presentation isn’t just about putting on a show—it’s about meaningful interaction.

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Presentation Skills in Specific Contexts

Whether you’re nailing your next job interview, presenting an exciting marketing campaign, or delivering insightful educational content, the context matters. Let’s take a look.

The Art of Job Interviews

A successful job interview often hinges on effective communication and confidence. Here, the target audience is usually small but holds significant influence over your future prospects. Body language plays a crucial role; maintain eye contact to show sincerity and interest while open body language communicates approachability.

Bullet points summarizing key experiences are also helpful for quick recall under pressure. This allows you to present your chosen topic with clarity and positive enthusiasm without relying heavily on note or cue cards.

Pitching in Public Relations & Marketing

In public relations (PR) and marketing contexts, presentations need to capture attention quickly yet hold it long enough to deliver key messages effectively. Visual aids are valuable tools here—they help emphasize points while keeping the audience engaged.

Your aim should be highlighting presentation benefits that resonate with potential clients or partners, making them feel as though ignoring such opportunities would mean missing out big time.

Educational Presentations

An educational setting demands its own unique set of presentation skills where deep understanding trumps flashy visuals. You must make complex information understandable without oversimplifying essential details—the use of analogies can be beneficial here.

Keeping the audience’s attention is critical. Encourage questions and participation to foster a more interactive environment, enhancing learning outcomes for all audience members.

Tips for Becoming a Great Presenter

No single method is suitable for everyone when it comes to speaking in public. However, incorporating continuous improvement and practice into your routine can make you an exceptional presenter.

Tailor Your Presentation to Your Audience

Becoming an excellent speaker isn’t just about delivering information; it’s also about making a connection with the audience. So make sure that you’re taking setting, audience, and topic into consideration when crafting your presentation. What works for one audience may not work for another, so be sure to adapt your presentation styles according to the occasion in order to be truly effective.

The Power of Practice

The art of mastering public speaking skills requires practice —and lots of it . To become a great presenter, focus on improving communication skills through practice and feedback from peers or mentors. Try to seek feedback on every speech delivered and incorporate those pointers in your future presentations. Over time, this cycle of delivery-feedback-improvement significantly enhances your ability to connect with audiences and convey ideas effectively.

If you’re looking for examples of good speakers, our speech breakdowns on YouTube provide excellent examples of experienced presenters who masterfully utilize speaking techniques. Analyzing their strategies could give you great ideas for enhancing your own style.

Finding Your Style

A crucial part of captivating any audience lies in how you deliver the message rather than the message itself. Developing a unique presentation style lets you stand out as an engaging speaker who commands attention throughout their talk. Through — you guessed it — practice, you can develop a personal presentation style that resonates with listeners while showcasing your expertise on the chosen topic.

Your body language plays a pivotal role here: open gestures communicate confidence and enthusiasm towards your subject matter, two qualities essential for keeping audiences hooked. Similarly, using vocal variety adds dynamism to speeches by emphasizing points when needed or creating suspense during storytelling parts of your talk.

Cultivating Passion & Enthusiasm

Showcasing genuine passion for the subject helps keep listeners engaged throughout even lengthy presentations. Sharing stories related to the topic or expressing excitement about sharing knowledge tends to draw people in more than mere data recitation ever could.

Recognize that everybody is distinctive; don’t expect identical results from every speaker. The path to becoming a great presenter involves recognizing your strengths and working tirelessly on areas that need improvement.

FAQs on Presentation Skills

What are good presentation skills.

Good presentation skills include a clear message, confident delivery, engaging body language, audience understanding, and interaction. They also involve effective preparation and practice.

What are the 5 steps of presentation skills?

The five steps of presenting include: planning your content, preparing visual aids if needed, practicing the delivery aloud, performing it with confidence, and finally post-presentation reflection for improvements.

What are the 5 P’s of presentation skills?

The five P’s stand for Preparation (researching your topic), Practice (rehearsing your talk), Performance (delivering with confidence), Posture (standing tall), and Projection (using a strong voice).

What are your presentation skills?

Your personal set of abilities to deliver information effectively is what we call your presentation skill. It can encompass public speaking ability, clarity in speech or writing as well as visual communication talent.

Mastering presentation skills isn’t an overnight process, but practice and perseverance will put you well on your way to becoming an effective speaker.

You’ve learned that confidence plays a crucial role in effective presentations, so take deep breaths, make eye contact, and keep your body language open. As always, preparation is key. Tackle filler words head-on and get comfortable with visual aids for impactful storytelling.

Remember the importance of audience engagement — it’s all about understanding their needs and tailoring your content accordingly. This way, complex information turns into digestible insights.

Above all else: practice! After all, nothing beats experience when it comes to improving public speaking abilities.

  • Last Updated: May 9, 2024

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A simple guide to slideshows

Learn what slideshows are, how they’re used, common features, and how to choose a slideshow maker. Get started creating your own slideshows today with Microsoft PowerPoint.

What is a slideshow?

What are slideshows used for.

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Meetings and presentations

Slideshows are most frequently used to create professional presentations for business meetings, conferences, and educational purposes. A  slideshow program  allows people to organize content, include visuals, and enhance the overall impact of their message.

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Visual storytelling

Because slideshows sequentially display engaging visuals, text, and other multimedia, they’re a strong way to tell a cohesive and compelling narrative from start to finish.

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Content creation

Slideshows give content creators a versatile and efficient way to organize information, increase visual appeal, and communicate effectively across different contexts.

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Photo and video sharing

Slideshow makers are popular for creating photo and video presentations, especially for events like weddings, birthdays, and vacations. People can add transitions, music, and captions to fully bring the photo-sharing experience to life.

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Training and tutorials

Slideshows help break down complex information into digestible chunks with the support of visuals and text, making them ideal for instructional materials, tutorials, and training modules.

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Collaborative projects

In collaborative settings, teams use slideshow makers to create joint presentations or reports. The best slideshow makers enable multiple contributors to add their content simultaneously, which helps ensure a cohesive and unified presentation.

What are the features of a slideshow creator?

Slideshow creators vary in what they offer but ideally include:

A library of templates, themes, and images.

If you’re not a designer, this feature is huge. Simply browse the options available in your slideshow maker library to create a polished, professionally designed presentation in a flash. Be sure to confirm that access to the library is free and the images are approved for unrestricted usage.

Audio and video compatibility.

Keeping your audience engaged is key to any successful slideshow presentation. To mix things up, being able to add a multimedia element—like a song or a video clip—will help people stay focused and interested.

Presentation tools.

Handy presenter tools go a long way toward making your slideshow experience seamless. For example, straightforward slide navigation, slideshow keyboard shortcuts, pen and highlighter markup, and adjustable resolution settings.

AI assistance.

With AI revolutionizing content creation, using a slideshow maker that has AI capabilities will enhance efficiency and innovation. Depending on the slideshow app you have, creating an entire slideshow could be as easy as a quick prompt, like “Make a presentation about the benefits of sustainable fashion that has 15 slides.” 

Animations.

Like audio and video, animations give your audience a bit of sensory surprise that can capture their attention. 

Slide transitions.

Add some pizzazz to how you change slides with visual effects like fading, wiping, and zooming. 

Screen recording.

Being able to record your screen in a slideshow maker is helpful when giving an instructional talk, software demonstration, and other types of presentations that require visual aids.

A place to put speaker notes.

Having somewhere to jot a few notes down will help remind you of everything you want to cover as you present.

Different viewing options.

Looking at different views—for example, a presenter view, an audience view, and a high-level view of slide order—is useful when organizing your slideshow’s structure and understanding and preparing for what you’ll see versus what your audience will see.

How do I choose the right slideshow maker?

When choosing a slideshow maker, keep the following questions in mind to make sure you get the most for your money:

Is it scalable with your business?

As your organization grows and changes, it’s important to have flexible technology that adapts to new needs. Having certain features—such as cloud-based collaboration, compatibility with other work apps, and a mobile app—will help ensure that no matter how your business changes, the slideshow maker is up to the task. This also applies to pricing plans. Consider choosing a slideshow app that has a subscription plan (so the software is always up to date), volume-based pricing, or enterprise-level pricing.

Does it have a variety of visual elements?

It’s pretty much a given that a slideshow maker will allow you to add images, but think outside the JPEG box—what other visual elements are available to you? Features like preset themes, free templates, SmartArt, a built-in clip art library, shape tools, background styles, 3D models, and charts and graphs provide diverse ways to switch up how a slideshow looks without relying solely on adding your own images.

Is it easy to use?

You could have the most feature-rich slideshow maker on the market, but if it isn’t easy to use, you probably won’t use it. Or you will, but you’ll be frustrated, waste valuable time, and have difficulty convincing people you work with to use it. As you research slideshow makers, look for videos that show the apps’ interfaces in action to help you decide if they’re intuitive and will have a shorter learning curve.

Does it have collaboration and sharing options?

Because making a slideshow is often a collaborative effort, it’s worthwhile to find a slideshow creator that was designed with this in mind. Pick one that offers editing controls and commenting, as well as the ability to work on a slideshow at the same time as someone else. Having a cloud-based slideshow maker will be key here. You’ll not only save yourself time but also keep things simple by not having multiple versions of the same slideshow.

Explore more about slideshows and slideshow makers

Copilot in powerpoint.

Transform how you make slideshows with the versatile AI in Copilot for PowerPoint.

Improve your presenting skills

Practice presenting with an AI speaker coach to get feedback on body language, repetition, and pronunciation.  

Six slideshow tips and tricks

Read up on tips about how to finesse your slideshows to give your most confident presentations.

Get free PowerPoint templates

Show your style with PowerPoint templates in more than 40 categories.

How to make a branded slideshow

Create a cohesive visual identity for your brand that goes beyond adding a logo to every slide.

Try a photo album template

Relive your favorite memories with photo album templates designed for all your unforgettable moments.

The benefits of visual aids in slideshows

Discover why using visual aids helps communicate ideas and messaging more effectively.

Slideshows that reach all learners

Explore the different ways that people learn and how to include all learning styles in your presentations.

Frequently asked questions

How do i make a good slideshow.

Making a good slideshow in PowerPoint is easy:

Plan what you’d like to include in your slideshow.

Launch your slideshow creator.

Choose the theme you’d like.

Import media.

Add text, music, and transitions.

Record, save, and share your slideshow.

Learn more about how to make a slideshow .

How do I add music to a slideshow?

To add music to a slideshow, first make sure that you’re using a slideshow maker with music compatibility. In PowerPoint, follow these steps:

Open your PowerPoint presentation and select the slide where you want to add music.

Click on the Insert tab in the ribbon menu.

Click on the Audio button and select Audio on My PC.

Browse to the folder on your computer where the audio file is located and select it.

Click on the Insert button.

How do I record a slideshow?

The steps for recording a slideshow in PowerPoint will vary depending on the version that you own. Get help with slideshow recording based on your version. 

What types of files can I add to a slideshow?

File compatibility in PowerPoint includes the use of JPEGs, PNGs, TIFFs, GIFs, PDFs, MP3s, WAVs, MIDIs, MPEG-4 Videos, and Windows Media Videos.  

How do I share my slideshow?

To share your PowerPoint slideshow, follow these steps:

Open your presentation and click Share at the top right of your screen.

If your presentation isn't already stored on OneDrive, select where to save your presentation to the cloud.

Choose a permission level, like Anyone with a link , or maybe just people in your company. You can also control if people can edit or just view the doc. 

Select Apply.

Enter names and a message.

Select Send.

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How to Present to an Audience That Knows More Than You

  • Deborah Grayson Riegel

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Lean into being a facilitator — not an expert.

What happens when you have to give a presentation to an audience that might have some professionals who have more expertise on the topic than you do? While it can be intimidating, it can also be an opportunity to leverage their deep and diverse expertise in service of the group’s learning. And it’s an opportunity to exercise some intellectual humility, which includes having respect for other viewpoints, not being intellectually overconfident, separating your ego from your intellect, and being willing to revise your own viewpoint — especially in the face of new information. This article offers several tips for how you might approach a roomful of experts, including how to invite them into the discussion without allowing them to completely take over, as well as how to pivot on the proposed topic when necessary.

I was five years into my executive coaching practice when I was invited to lead a workshop on “Coaching Skills for Human Resource Leaders” at a global conference. As the room filled up with participants, I identified a few colleagues who had already been coaching professionally for more than a decade. I felt self-doubt start to kick in: Why were they even here? What did they come to learn? Why do they want to hear from me?

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  • Deborah Grayson Riegel is a professional speaker and facilitator, as well as a communication and presentation skills coach. She teaches leadership communication at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and has taught for Wharton Business School, Columbia Business School’s Women in Leadership Program, and Peking University’s International MBA Program. She is the author of Overcoming Overthinking: 36 Ways to Tame Anxiety for Work, School, and Life and the best-selling Go To Help: 31 Strategies to Offer, Ask for, and Accept Help .

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Palena R. Neale Ph.D, PCC

10 Tips for a Persuasive Presentation

Powerful presentation is persuasion. here's how to elevate your impact..

Posted May 11, 2024 | Reviewed by Ray Parker

  • Presentations aim to effect change. It's essential to be clear about what change you want to see.
  • Powerful presenters embrace and extend empathy to seek first to understand their audience.
  • Substance and style both matter to create an audience-informed communication experience.
  • Persuasive presentations are relevant, reasoned, real, and resonant.

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How many of us realize that giving a presentation or making a speech is all about persuasion , influence, and emotional intelligence ? Impactful presenters understand the power of empathy to understand and engage their audience, the efficiency and kindness of having a clear objective and message, and the importance of substance and style—all as a way to connect in a way that engages and inspires.

Much has been written on the power and behavioral science of persuasion, not least by expert Robert Cialdini. His bestselling book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion explains seven research-based universal principles of influence .

From my experience as a leadership coach working with thousands of people worldwide, I have compiled a list of ten essentials to elevate our presentation.

1. Maintain an "other" focus. What do you know about your audience and how can you find out more? Ask yourself what kind of a speaker will appeal to your audience, what arguments are likely to resonate with them, and what feelings you want to inspire so the audience will positively respond to your ask. If your audience is predominantly data-driven, you may want to use more evidence-based arguments. If the audience is mixed, a combination of data, authority, and storytelling may be more appropriate. Extend Daniel Goleman’s three types of empathy to gather intelligence , understand your audience, and tailor your intervention to connect more profoundly.

2. Determine a specific objective: Presentations aim to effect change in some way. What change do you want to see in your audience? Every presentation aims to change the audience in some way. For instance, gaining their approval for a certain investment, soliciting their buy-in for a change, or creating a sense of enthusiasm for an idea or initiative. The purpose of a presentation is to bring about change so make sure you are clear on what kind of change you want to bring about.

3. Design a grabber: Our attention spans have shrunk as we have more and more competing demands on our attention . If you want to get someone’s attention you need to grab it at the outset and try and hold on. You can do this in a number of different ways. Throw out a question that demands a response from the audience. Give a surprising fact or statistic, or quote from a well-known figure. Tell a story or an anecdote. A good grabber captures the attention of everyone there, and makes them focus on what you have to say.

4. Crystalize your message and construct your arguments : Your message is the heart of your speech. Craft a brief phrase that clearly defines your proposal in 10-12 words. For example, “This post is about crafting presentations that inspire and engage others to elevate their presentations.” Make it memorable by choosing inspiring words, symbols, catchy expressions, something that will remain in the audience's mind. As Brené Brown says: “Clear is kind,” and a clear message provides a path to develop your ideas.

When you have a clear and concise message, it helps you formulate your arguments. Think of developing your arguments using the rule of three —three compelling arguments to convince but not overwhelm your audience.

5. Prepare a call to action: Remember, we want to change our audience in some way, so we need to make our ask in a clear and concrete manner.

Consider your call to action in terms of what you want your audience to think/feel/do:

  • Think—“I want you to think about how you can improve your presentations.”
  • Feel—“I want you to feel enthusiastic and motivated so that you can elevate your power to persuade.”
  • Do—“I want you to try out some of these tips and tools for yourself.”

6. Craft a memorable closing: Close the speech in an elegant and memorable way. We need people to remember what we've told them, so prepare it well. This is not the time to improvise. Try to connect your closing to your opening grabber, which makes the presentation more memorable. Good preparation means preparing everything to the very end—finish well.

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7. Plan your delivery: A dynamic speaker draws listeners in by using vocal variety (tone, intonation, speed, volume, pace, pauses, silence) and body language (posture, gestures, expression, and movement) to highlight important points and hold the audience’s attention. Be intentional: How will you use your voice and your body to emphasize a thought or idea? Think about it: If you increased the time you spent on style or delivery by 20 percent, what would it mean for the impact you make?

8. Think about how you will engage your audience : You want the audience to feel considered throughout. Include pauses so they can process what’s being said; connect with individuals throughout the room and make deliberate eye contact while speaking, especially when delivering key points. Read and respond to the audience by changing how you deliver as you go based on the audience’s nonverbal communication .

9. Rehearse and Practice: Practice is one of the most crucial elements of presenting—and probably the most neglected one. If this is new to you start by reading your presentation in front of a mirror to get comfortable speaking your presentation. Next, video yourself and watch out for nervous or distracting habits to eliminate them and identify any areas where you can improve your delivery. If you are feeling brave, practice in front of an audience and ask for feedback.

10. Prepare your success rituals and mantra: Public speaking and/or stage fright can feel debilitating for some. Have your calm-down ritual prepared and ready to go before you start your presentation. This might be a certain gesture, a power pose, breathwork, or a mantra. Try this tip: Identify three adjectives to describe how you would like to show up during this presentation. This sets an intention and helps focus our cognitive and emotional resources on success.

Powerful presenters embrace and extend empathy to seek first to understand their audience. They use this intelligence to carefully make choices about substance and style to create an audience-informed communication experience that feels relevant, reasoned, real, and resonant and creates a pathway for change.

Palena R. Neale Ph.D, PCC

Palena Neale, Ph.D. , is a women’s leadership coach, lecturer, and founder of unabridged, a boutique leadership development practice.

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    Getting Started. 1. Open PowerPoint and click 'New.'. A page with templates will usually open automatically, but if not, go to the top left pane of your screen and click New. If you've already created a presentation, select Open and then double-click the icon to open the existing file. Image Source.

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    2 Million+ PowerPoint Templates, Themes, Graphics + More. Download thousands of PowerPoint templates, and many other design elements, with a monthly Envato Elements membership. It starts at $16 per month, and gives you unlimited access to a growing library of over 2,000,000 presentation templates, fonts, photos, graphics, and more.

  14. 10 PowerPoint Tips for Preparing a Professional Presentation

    PowerPoint Slide Design. The design can leave a first and lasting impression. Give it a professional touch to win your audience's trust and attention. 1. Carefully Compose Your Slides. Don't copy and paste slides from different sources. You don't want your presentation to look like a rag rug.

  15. Free professional presentation templates to customize

    5,456 templates. Create a blank Professional Presentation. Pink Rose Watercolor Organic Creative Project Presentation. Presentation by Equipo de Pronoia Studio. Purple & white business profile presentation. Presentation by ARP Creation. Green Beige Vintage Scrapbook Project Presentation.

  16. Free online presentation maker and editor

    Free online presentation maker. Try our new tool to edit this selection of templates for people that want to let their creativity run free. Create interactive resources easily, quickly and without the need for any software. A really useful tool for teachers and students. Move the content, add images, change colors and fonts or, if you prefer ...

  17. What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation

    Here are a few tips for business professionals who want to move from being good speakers to great ones: be concise (the fewer words, the better); never use bullet points (photos and images paired ...

  18. How to create professionally designed presentations

    Create paragraph styles. Create no more than three text styles so you can keep the title font, body font, and footnote font consistent throughout the presentation. Set paragraph styles to change font and size with a click of a button. Set up master pages. Create a few master pages to help ensure your presentation looks professional and well ...

  19. The Complete Guide To Creating A Captivating Professional Presentation

    If you work through each of the 10 steps below, as well as watch the included videos, and review the embedded resources, you will have all of the information you could ever need to create a stunning, professional presentation, instead of a boring conference room killer presentation.. The key to success is starting early so you have ample time to complete each of the 10 steps thoughtfully.

  20. Create professional slide layouts with Designer

    Over time PowerPoint learns from your experience using design ideas and shows you design ideas at the appropriate time. Scroll through the suggestions in the Designer pane on the right side of the window. Click to select the design you want, or else close the window. If you select one of the ideas, your slide is changed accordingly.

  21. Online PPT Maker

    Create your own stunning presentation design for free with Canva's impressively easy to use online presentation maker. ... Designing is an absolute breeze thanks to its drag-and-drop features and ready-made professional quality templates. Everything you need to become a visual communicator is at your fingertips—an epic image library ...

  22. Free Professional Google Slide themes and PowerPoint templates

    Create presentations in minutes with AI AI icebreaker generator Generate icebreaker activities and ideas AI exit ticket Create assessments for your students. ... Professional Presentation templates Download and customize these free Google Slides themes and PowerPoint templates with a more Professional look. Going straight to the point is much ...

  23. How to Create Professional Presentations with Free Tools

    1Choose the right platform. The first step is to choose a platform that suits your needs and preferences. There are many online tools that allow you to create and share presentations without ...

  24. Present with Purpose: Create/Deliver Effective Presentations

    Present with Purpose. Module 1 • 2 hours to complete. This module will help you to develop skills and behaviors required to confidently and successfully create and deliver presentations. You'll learn how to organize presentations, build slide decks that will help your audience remember your message, and deliver your presentations in a more ...

  25. 14 Practical Tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills

    Instead, aim to maintain eye contact between 50% of the time during presentations. This commonly accepted "50/70 rule" will help you exhibit adequate confidence to your audience. If stage fright has gotten a hold on you, take deep breaths before you start speaking in order to stay calm.

  26. Slideshow Maker Software Guide

    A slideshow is a series of slides in a sequential order that helps people share information, tell a story, or showcase content by displaying one slide at a time. Slideshows often have text, graphics, and other media. Slideshows are most frequently used to create professional presentations for ...

  27. How to Present to an Audience That Knows More Than You

    Summary. What happens when you have to give a presentation to an audience that might have some professionals who have more expertise on the topic than you do? While it can be intimidating, it can ...

  28. AI Presentation Maker: Create presentations with AI

    Go to the Design tab on the editor. Simply type a descriptive prompt in the search bar, and the AI presentation maker will generate beautiful drafts of slides for you. You can then edit the content and use other awesome AI tools to perfect your presentation. These AI features are super helpful for people new to design, as well as pros and teams ...

  29. 10 Tips for a Persuasive Presentation

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  30. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    Mission. The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.