You Need To Know These 7 Amazing Professional Document Tips From Janet Jarnagin

Have you ever experienced a long, unfocused PowerPoint presentation? Most of us have. Even the most compelling subjects can lose their audience if the presentation isn’t prepared and delivered professionally.

After working with boards and management teams, the following tips are the ones that I’ve found to be most effective in creating professional, easy-to-understand, and compelling PowerPoint presentations.

You Need To Know These 7 Amazing Professional Document Tips From Janet Jarnagin

Take Your Audience Into Consideration

Starting with your prewriting and planning step, it’s crucial to keep your audience and format (virtual or in-person) in mind. It’s much easier to focus your presentation and select the information that you want to convey if you know the outcome that you want your audience to have in advance.

Educators choose the learning outcomes they want their audience to have. If you’re making a presentation to your board of directors, you probably have a desired outcome as well, whether it’s investment in a new project or a positive report on a successful project.

Prewrite, Brainstorm, And Outline To Improve Your Focus

Many people just open PowerPoint and begin creating their presentation. You will get better results if you take time to brainstorm the topics and focus for your presentation before you start working with PowerPoint.

There are several ways you can prewrite or brainstorm for your presentation. Listing, clustering, mapping, and outlining are all pencil-and-paper processes.

Some people are more verbal, and they find that talking out their presentation with a colleague can be an effective tool. Whether you are brainstorming on paper, on a computer screen, or talking with other team members, taking the time to write down the main topics of your PowerPoint will improve its quality and impact.

Write Your Script Or Notes

When you’ve worked out your presentation’s audience, the essential information you want to convey, and your desired presentation outcomes, it’s time to write the PowerPoint script.

Apple presentation expert Guy Kawasaki believes that presentations which are longer than ten slides or take longer than 20 minutes grow less effective with each added slide and each extra minute. While Kawasaki’s ideas aren’t hard-and-fast rules, they are also worthy of consideration. Your presentation will gain flair and impact when it covers essential verbal information and uses no more than a few phrases per slide. Illustrations and graphics can support each slide’s topic and focus.

Create A Story For The Audience

People naturally respond to stories that they find interesting. Aja Frost, a search engine writing expert at social media marketing firm HubSpot, says “I try to structure my presentations around a story. Not only does this make the presentation more memorable and engaging, it’s also easier to figure out which information is relevant.”

If you picture a protagonist for your presentation, you can create a story that involves a challenge. Framing each slide as one step of overcoming the challenge, you can conclude the PowerPoint with a successful or happy ending.

Choose A Design And Images

Now that you have the words for your PowerPoint presentation, choosing the right design and images becomes easier. There are several design principles that I’ve found effective. They include:

  • Choose appropriate, legible fonts for your audience and purpose
  • Use PowerPoint’s built-in layouts
  • Be consistent: don’t switch fonts, sizes, and colors
  • Use high contrast for readability and impact

Ensure that any graphics you use are readable. Your story and message can fall flat if the audience can’t read your most important chart or graph.

Use Animations And Media Sparingly

PowerPoint has many features that can include animations and other types of media. But you are being asked to make a PowerPoint presentation, not show a video to your audience. If you need to animate anything in your PowerPoint, ensure that it supports your message and desired outcome before you include it.

Engage Your Audience With Good Presentation Skills

PowerPoint presentations provide a visual support for the message that you want to convey to your audience. Asking yourself questions about the audience and answering them can help to hone one of the most important presentation skills: engaging with your audience.

Practice is also important. If you can, give yourself plenty of time to practice the presentation in advance. Know your slides well, and be able to speak with confidence.

As you’re presenting, keep strong eye contact with your audience. Too many presentations that could have been outstanding end up losing their audience because the presenter didn’t consistently make eye contact and interact professionally.

Be prepared for questions as well. I’ve found that the most productive part of many professional PowerPoint presentations can be question and answer times with the audience. By following these tips, you can make a strong and compelling professional PowerPoint presentation.

Use PowerPoint built in tools… but make adjustments. Default settings usually come with larger fonts and margin sizes, or even dark/heavy shades and borders. Ensure your table/smart art matches up to your slide’s overall format.