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Presentation (noun) / the manner or style in which something is given.
Top 10 PowerPoint Presentation Tips
Over the years I have attended more than my fair share of presentations and I have certainly given more than my fair share. Always, in addition to hearing from speakers and learning from what they have to say, I am always on the lookout for presentation tips and techniques. Many people may think that good presenters were just born that way or are naturals, but I have found that not to be the case. Like with any craft, being good takes planning and practice. And in the case of giving a good presentation, it can also take having a good command and repertoire of some of the common and effective tips and techniques. So today, we have amassed a list of tips, ten altogether, for giving PowerPoint presentations.
  1. Simple Design: Keep the design of your PowerPoint presentation very basic and simple. Decorate sparingly, but beautifully. You want the information to jump off the page, not the design.
  2. Consistent Appearance: Have a consistent appearance throughout your presentation. Use the same font style and sizes throughout your presentation. Use color in a consistent way that adds meaning and fosters organization to your content. A poor choice of font styles, sizes, and colors can ruin an otherwise good presentation.
  3. Use of Contrast: Use contrast to help your audience easily view your presentation. Black text on a white background is great contrast and prints well, but also a boring choice. Experiment with colors to find the contrast of background and text that you like remember first and foremost that you don't want your audience to have to strain to guess what is on your slide.
  4. Apply Brilliance: Carefully select your colors to bring out your message. Using too many colors will weaken the color effect. Seek to match a few colors for design and then use good contrast to highlight your message. The combination of a few colors and contrast will produce brilliance and will be very pleasing on the eyes of your audience.
  5. KISS: We all are familiar with the term Keep It Simple, Stupid. A good rule to remember is that your slides are only there to support your talk, not to replace it. Be sure to tell your story and in your own words. Use slides to emphasize key points. If you read your slides, you may run the risk of putting your audience to sleep.
  6. Aha Message: In your presentation, make your message an aha message. This is not just a summary of your data or summary of your story, but an epiphany for your audience that is memorable.\
  7. Use Images: Use more images than text, but don't over decorate. A great image will convey not just words, but thoughts and emotions. Use images to visualize and explain your point.
  8. Don’t Be Foolish: Be mindful that your audience defines the content and context of your presentation. Use humor to complement your message as appropriate, but don't go overboard with it. The last thing you want is for your audience to remember your humor but not your message.
  9. Remember Your Audience: Always keep your audience in mind. Seek to understand what they know, what they need you to tell them, what they expect from you, what will help keep them focused on your presentation and message. If you lose sight of your audience, no amount of creative design, animation, and colors will bring them back.
  10. Practice: Years back, my high school golf coach would plead with me to practice like I play and play like I practice. This would be sage advice for giving presentations, especially to the executive team. Know you material inside and out. Practice giving your presentation and then give it with the same confidence, comfort, and control of your practice. Don't allow yourself to be unprepared to give your pitch.

Good luck...!

Posted on: November 02, 2012 03:19 PM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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Great points! I like Steve Jobs take on PowerPoint, if you came into a meeting with PPT slides, Steve through you out - because you didn't know your content well enough to not use a crutch.

That being said, I think there is value in using slides - however when making the choice between including 10pt font text and dense detail versus no slides and knowing your material. . . . I lean towards simpler slides and knowing your stuff!

Tom, so like the Steve Jobs story. Years back (1993) at IBM when Lou Gerstner was hired from the outside to be the new CEO and right the IBM ship, he would not allow his executive team to use foils (overhead transparencies - pre PowerPoint days) in their business review meetings. Surprisingly, many of the divisional executies had difficulties talking and answering about their business without the aid of their presentation materials. And rarely was it for lack of knowledge about the business (which no doubt can also be the case), rather the lack of being able to sit still, talk, listen, and think.... I agree with you, keep it simple and know your stuff..! Thanks for sharing...!

A lot of people get confused over training materials and presentation slides.

Mark, great tips! I will definitely keep them in mind.

Just to add a couple of observations I have made over the last two years of attending a lot (read that as too many) of presentations.

1. Stories are invaluable and generally one of the most effective methods of delivering a message.
2. The most memorable and I think the best presentations I''ve attended lately had absolutely no slides... nada, zip, none. I remember more from these two presentations than any of the others.
3. Be flexible and adaptable.
4. Don''t use a script or read the slides.
5. As much as possible, don''t give the audience the slides prior or during the presentation. They pay more attention to the handout than to you. Really... they do.

And remember, the most important rule of all.... it''s all about communicating your message effectively and effective communication is a two way street.


Thank you, Mark. Always useful tips.

Thank you Mark
Thanks Harlan, the story is an effective way to keep people attentive

well summarized, I liked the "Humour" point the most. I have done that myself and attended a few such sessions, where the only thing that stays in my mind after the session is the joke! I will work on it myself also.

Is important to really KNOW the topic you are presenting.

Thank for your sharing :)

Great tips, thank you for sharing.

Some good tips here. Thanks for sharing

Great insight

Dear Mr.Mark, Great Summary of simple points. Thanks for sharing the article. It reminded me of early use of presentations. Best Regards Suneel ([email protected])
p.s: Please ignore the earlier message.

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