Powerpoint gives you more ways to create and share dynamic presentations with your audience than ever before. Exciting new audio and visual capabilities help you tell a crisp, cinematic story that’s as easy to create as it is powerful to watch.

In addition, PowerPoint 2010 enables you to work simultaneously with other people or post your presentation online and access it from virtually anywhere using the Web or your smartphone.

Need to get your message across quickly, efficiently and memorably? Powerpoint presentations can be your secret weapon in all kinds of presentations – whether it’s a one-on-one sales pitch, or a motivational seminar at your company conference.

A word of warning though. Most companies expect their employees to provide their own presentations without any graphics training, so it’s little wonder we often see confusing, overly-busy or cluttered presentations.

Here are 10 great guidelines to help keep your presentations professional:

  1. Use only one font, and make sure it’s easy to read. Good examples are ‘sans serif’ fonts such as Arial or Helvetica. Use bold for headlines and italics for stressing certain points or for quotes.
  2. Use three basic colours that work together. If your company logo has two colours in it, you could use another complementary colour or shades of these colours. Do not use 4 or more colours – they will clash and look like bad art!
  3. If you’re using animation, use the simplest form. Remember the information is more important than the whizz-bang special effects that can prove distracting. (Ever seen a movie that relies on special effects instead of a good story – it doesn’t work).
  4. Use headlines, paragraphs and bullet points effectively to make your text easy to read. Spacing is also important – don’t lump 10 lines together in a paragraph. You don’t want people squinting trying to read screeds of text.
  5. Don’t use outdated clip art. This just looks awful and it makes your presentation look amateurish. Only use clip art if its been treated properly by a graphic designer who is trained on what works – normally the clip art will be color treated so it looks like its part of the overall design – if you are not a designer avoid silly pictures as what you may find nice a cutesy someone else will consider to be foolish.
  6. Make sure the contrast between your text and the background makes your presentation easy to read. A light background and dark text is best for the human eye. Black text on a light background works best in any room with just about any lighting.
  7. Keep your text content short and snappy. Don’t use long sentences or difficult words. You are there to sell your ideas or product – make it easy for the audience to understand and follow.
  8. Be considerate of your audience. To make sure everyone can clearly see your presentation, keep your text and images to the centre of the screen. (Beware of text that goes to the bottom of the screen as the audience at the back may not be able to read it).
  9. Your Powerpoint content is normally a SUMMARY of what you are saying. with visual tools to help convey your message. Keep it simple and remember the content is more important than the design – make the design simple and unobtrusive and your message will be well received.
  10. Remember that you and what you have to say is more important than your powerpoint presentation. Powerpoint is there to show tricky things, systems and emphasize what you are saying. Don’t talk to the powerpoint presentation either – talk to your audience – refer only to the powerpoint when you want to draw attention to something specific. Never, Never, NEVER read out the bloody thing verbatim – we are all capable of reading – and its boring! Go forth, educate and entertain.

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