5 PowerPoint Tips for Students: How to Polish Your Presentation
  • 3-minute read
  • 24th January 2020

5 PowerPoint Tips for Students: How to Polish Your Presentation

If you’re giving a presentation in class, Microsoft’s PowerPoint is your friend. But how can you make the most of PowerPoint? And what goes into a good presentation? We have five tips to share:

  1. Plan the length and structure of your slide show to match your talk.
  2. Use text sparingly, making sure it is clear and concise throughout.
  3. Use visual aids, but keep the overall design style simple and consistent.
  4. Don’t overuse slide transitions or other animations.
  5. Get your PowerPoint file proofread before you give the presentation!

Read on for a closer look at each of these points below.

1. Plan Your Presentation

When giving a presentation, you will usually have a set amount of time available. You thus need to plan the content of your talk so you don’t run under or over your allotted time. As a result, you also need to plan the length of your PowerPoint slide show to match your talk.

Too few slides and people may lose interest. Too many and you may need to rush through them. Look at how long you have available and write an outline of how many slides you’ll need and what each one will include. One slide per minute is a good guideline, but don’t use more than you need!

2. Keep Text Clear and Concise

If you try to put the full script of your talk into a slide show, it will be difficult to follow. Instead, keep the text in your presentation clear and concise by:

  • Using a simple typeface and large font
  • Using contrasting colors for background and text
  • Limiting the number of lines of text per slide
  • Using short sentences and bullet points wherever possible

The key is to only include essential text in the presentation. Save the details for your talk or any printed handouts you prepare for the audience.

3. Use Visuals, But Keep the Design Simple

A PowerPoint presentation is primarily a visual aid. Text alone won’t keep people engaged, so try to include pictures, graphs, charts and other visuals to illustrate the points you’re making. And make sure to pick high-quality images that look good when magnified via a projector.

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At the same time, though, don’t overcomplicate the design. This means:

  • Using a consistent slide template and color scheme
  • Keeping slides simple and not overloading them with information
  • Not using background images that make text hard to read

This will allow you to create a visually engaging presentation.

4. Don’t Overuse Animations and Transitions

Following from the previous point, PowerPoint contains a lot of slide transitions and other animations. And we know these can seem exciting.

The inclusion of a 'Random' option has always seemed counterproductive.
The inclusion of a “Random” option has always seemed counterproductive.

But don’t get carried away. One or two animations in a slide show may be a quick way to add some visual flair to a presentation, but if every line of text is animated people won’t pay attention to what you say.

5. Have It Proofread!

Errors in your PowerPoint presentation’s text or misplaced images will be distracting. As such, getting your presentation content proofread is vital. And knowing your visual aids are error free will allow you to give your talk with confidence, increasing your chances of success.

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