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Creating content for PowerPoint presentations can be an effective way of complementing and supporting your speech. They provide the audience with a visual and can pique their interest in content. When presenting data, it can be an effective way of clearly relaying essentials. It is important to remember that your PowerPoint should not be the focus. The audience is there to hear what you have to say, not read slide after slide of information.

Creating a powerful presentation that enhances your speech and the message you are presenting can take planning and practice. As you prepare your slides, keep the following considerations in mind:

Keep bullet points short. Avoid inserting blocks of texts into your slide when creating content. It is good to have white space. Instead highlight key ideas with a bullet point or two. Present information concisely in no more than five to seven words. These can serve as cues for you to remember what you wanted to talk about next. They can also get the audience interested without boring them.

When you have too much text on your slides, it is tempting to read it to the audience, or in many cases, they are reading it to themselves and not listening to what you are saying. Using short phrases brings their attention back to you so they can find out more about what the slide means. Metrics, questions, and interesting facts can all add to engagement. After all, if you just saw “38%” on a slide, wouldn’t you want to know what it was referring to?

Make sure charts are clear and simple. When inserting charts into your presentation, focus on the most important information. You want to be able to make the chart large enough and simple enough that it is easy to read from distance and makes sense. If it is too small or cluttered, the audience may have trouble following or deciphering what it is displaying.

Tailor the message to the audience. Gauge what information you include based on your audience. If they are more knowledgeable about subject matter, you can use industry-specific terminology and don’t have to explain basics. If they are unfamiliar with the topic, you may have to break things down more.

Create a logical flow. Your slides can serve as your note cards for the presentation. Make sure that the order makes sense and is easy to follow. As you practice your speech, you may need to go back and rearrange or make adjustments.

Use simple transitions. It can be tempting to take advantage of the transition options such as making text “fly” across the screen or fading from one slide to the next, but remember to keep things simple. You still want to maintain a professional image and focus. Some transitions can be distracting or take away from valuable time. Don’t put transitions between every slide and keep things moving.

Remember that your PowerPoint should be simple and visually appealing. The main focus should be on what you are saying, not what is happening on the screen behind you. Make your visuals work with your speech, not against it. To maximize your presentation making skills – both verbally and visually – consider engaging in executive coaching, consulting, or management training with JP Kantor Consulting. We can help you to build and refine your skills so that you make a positive impact on your audience.