Putting The Power In Your PowerPoint*

Have you ever heard the expression “Death by PowerPoint”? It’s the sinking feeling you get when stuck in a long, uninspired presentation with too many slides and not enough spark.

In the right hands, PowerPoint can be a dynamic tool that enhances a talk and keeps an audience tracking along with slides that effectively reinforce key messages.

To add the power you need to make your next PowerPoint more compelling, follow these golden rules that good presenters use to engage and sustain interest.


  • Keep the design clean and uncluttered.
  • Leave empty space around the text and graphics.
  • Limit the types of transitions that are used. Pick one or two and stick with them.


  • Backgrounds should never distract from the presentation. Keep them subtle.
  • Use a background that is light colored with dark text.
  • It is sometimes appropriate to change the background design when transitioning to a new topic.


  • Choose only one or two font styles. Too many fonts create a jumbled, disjointed look.
  • Too much text makes slides hard to read. Stick to just a few key words.
  • Don’t use more than six to eight words per line.
  • Don’t use more than six lines of text per slide.


  • Use graphics to make a key concept clearer.
  • Use clear simple visuals that won’t confuse the audience.
  • When possible, let a picture or graphic tell the story instead of text.

Presentation Approach

  • Practice your presentation so you can speak from bullet points.
  • Maintain eye contact with your audience.
  • Do not read the slides to your audience word for word.
  • Wrap up by summarizing your main points.
  • Leave time for questions and answers at the end.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to get your message across more quickly and effectively. You’ll have the power to make PowerPoint presentations that consistently capture your audiences’ attention, tell a memorable story, and leave a lasting impression.

*PowerPoint® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

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