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Three PowerPoint guidelines

Invented in 1984, PowerPoint is the public-speaking software used everywhere from the classroom to the board room, but it is often not used well!

Before you open PowerPoint:

  • Your research should be complete.

  • You should have a story map or a note card for each slide which includes title, text, sequence, placement of graphics and narration text.


  • Choose a template design that harmonizes with your theme.

  • Be sure there is good CONTRAST between words and background.

  • Have just ONE IDEA and a few supporting facts on each slide.

  • There should be one focal point. Use the "Rule of Thirds".

  • Use just one or two fonts, and be sure it is large enough for people in the back of the room.

  • Choose powerful images; use original art or your own photographs if possible.

  • Apply artistic criteria to each slide: balance, proportion, harmony, RESTRAINT, originality.

  • Keep animations simple.

  • Make eye contact with your audience and speak with conviction.

  • Challenge the audience to think, don't just present information.


  • Don't get carried away with special effects and animations. Good designers believe that LESS IS MORE.

  • Don't oversimplify your topic. Be aware that it can be challenging to present a complicated idea in a simple format that uses headings and bullet points.

  • Don't just read the words on each slide. Remember that your audience can read, too. Slides accompany or illustrate your talk; they should not BE your whole talk. Use words on your slides to highlight what is important.

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