Actionable Tips For Creating a Professional PowerPoint Presentation


Over the years, I have found myself taking care of the design of many presentations, from the classic PowerPoint to be projected in a room full of people to image sliders and classic PDF formats to be sent via email.

Many times I have been asked to review already created presentations to add a touch of design and elegance to messy spaces and structureless content. Every time I noticed that the authors, although coming from different sectors, usually made a set of mistakes that they had in common.

It’s not always easy to address the public with a computer and a projector that flips through our slides to the rhythm of the words and our topics. There are emotions involved, enthusiasm, and the previous and future work that looms. At conferences, applause from listeners can be taken for granted as sincere feedback on what was expressed and how the concepts were exposed, and not just verbally.

Before going on stage, I know that a speaker has spent hours and hours writing texts and inserting graphs and bullet points into their slides. He should have prepared himself to review the most essential concepts and carefully insert the best quotes to convince the public to be listened to.

If you are preparing to publicly publish your hypotheses or reports, I leave you with some suggestions for a better presentation and a head start!

1. Little Text, a Lot of Content

I worked on the graphics of many presentations in the education and pedagogy sector, and what I found in front of me were slides so full of text that I had to unpack them into several parts. When I asked the speaker if it was possible to shorten the sentences and cut out parts that at first glance seemed secondary to me, he replied that in this way he would not be able to follow the thread of the discussion and would run the risk of forgetting important pieces of what he had to say.

He used the presentation not only for people, and he wanted to make a good impression, but also for himself as a plot. This is a mistake to avoid. You would be better off printing separate sheets where you clearly highlight all the topics. By keeping them visible only to you, you’ll use them to remind you of key points as you speak to the audience.

So at the same time, clean up the presentation of all excess text and focus the slides on the key points. Remember that people attending a conference listen to you, look at you, follow you with their eyes, and then look for a match between what you say and what appears on the screen.

In this last step, they will certainly not have the time, nor will they be able to read the Divine Comedy that you are projecting from the computer. Either they read your writing carefully or they listen to you carefully. The two things together are difficult and annoying.

Instead, try filling the slide with visual and exemplary content accompanied by the title or a sentence that you will then explain in detail. It is a more refined and elegant way to gain the audience’s attention.

2. Smart Fonts, Consistent Fonts

I know that time is always short and you have to dedicate it to something else. However, be careful about the fonts you use. I usually receive presentations with 4 or 5 fonts different in size and character on the same slide. By using styles, it will be easier for you to immediately choose the right font that will be the main feature of your presentation. Avoid the usual Arial, if you open the font dropdown, a world will blossom before your eyes. In this regard, it is good to remember that each topic has its own graphics: an elegant font does not mean frivolous or excessively imaginative. If you don’t find one that satisfies you, try taking a look at and download one that seems right for you, checking that the set includes uppercase and lowercase letters and possibly even special characters. Usually, sans serif fonts with good spacing are the best to choose for ease of reading and clarity.


3. Background images And photos

A slide from a presentation by Silvia Cossu for a workshop on social networks. One of my slides from a presentation for a workshop on communication in social networks. As I said in point #1, what will form the background of your speech are not the texts but the visual contents that will appear behind you and which will be an essential feature of your slides.

We said to use them in combination with a title, a quote, a sentence, or a short bulleted list, so be careful to choose the right ones. For a visually impactful approach, consider incorporating relevant infographics into your slides, as these graphical representations of information can effectively convey complex data in a clear and engaging manner. A photo rich in detail and filled with colors and shapes may not be ideal and may confuse the eye.

Look for an image with a space dedicated to the main scene and a “void” where you can insert what interests you without tiring the viewer. There’s no need to go crazy looking for a unique photo for each slide, but you can vary and play with the same one repeated in some (not all, it would risk being monotonous) and with the text. You can leave some slides without photos and simply insert icons in the right position. The effect will certainly be notable if you manage to manage the spaces correctly.


4. Let’s start From The Cover

Anyone who starts well is halfway there. If time is running out, dedicate yourself to the cover and the first slides, which will be an excellent card to play in front of the faces of the audience. In order to make a good impression on the public right away, this will be a crucial aspect to take care of.

Take care of the image and the title, which are clear and prominent, and carefully choose the colors to propose, without weighing down the overall vision. Remember to include the speaker’s name and contact details if you would like to be contacted later.

5. Embed a Video

It’s a great idea to do this to also break concentration and allow the people listening to you to relax and take a little mental break. Videos are inspiring, encourage interaction, and engage viewers. They are now daily bread for everyone. You will prove that you are up to date, original and the audience will definitely appreciate it.

Naturally, you will choose a relevant video, if you don’t have one specifically shot and edited, you can insert a clip found on the web which still follows the topic. You can use it to explore other concepts or ask the audience a question.

To conclude, I might suggest that you do not exceed 15/20 slides for your presentation. In reality, I know well that for many, it is impossible. It depends on the time available, and some of my clients sometimes have around 3 hours of public speaking. So it’s clear that sticking to that number could prove impossible, as well as perhaps making those watching turn up their noses.

I could also advise you, in extreme cases, to resort to purchasing ready-made templates. They may seem like a very attractive alternative, but this isn’t always the case. First of all, because you won’t be saved a lot of work anyway. You will still have to insert your contents, adapt them to the templates provided, and manage the spaces again, not to mention that you will just have to understand how they were built. In short, they may seem like a shortcut and then turn out to be an additional workload that is difficult to manage.


On Key

Related Posts