Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Business Research Guide

PowerPoint Tips

  1. Don’t use PowerPoint.  PowerPoint was designed to help you communicate your ideas to an audience. Figure the best way for you to communicate what you have to say. If you need help, PowerPoint can give it to you. If you don’t need help, don’t use it.


  1. Who is the star? Many people in your audience are visual learners, but not all of them. The words and images you display will be a help to some, but are distracting to others. In a sense you are sharing the stage with pictures. You belong in the spotlight, not PowerPoint.


  1. The skeleton. Many people use PowerPoint as an outline for the talk; that’s fine, but keep it simple. Remember it is an outline not cue cards. Never read from your slides.


  1. The fives:  5 words per line, 5 lines per slide, 5 seconds per visual, 1 slide every 5 minutes, people can remember 5 things.


  1. Visuals support complex or abstract data. Don’t use them for information which is simple or concrete. Clip art sucks. Cartoons and furry bunnies belong on children’s television shows not on scholarly, serious presentations. Images that are cute don’t cut it. If you feel you need some kind of visual illustration to make a point, choose something understated, simple and classy looking.


  1. Consistency is everything.  Keep all your words and images in the same place.  Create a simple master slide (name or presentation, date, your name).  Fonts should be simple and easy to read. Sans serif fonts are clean. Use a 36pt for titles and 24pt for body text.  Use color conservatively and remember it will wash on presentation. Yellow background and black letters are good choices.


  1. The templates are okay, but everyone has seen them.  Pick a simple one and modify it to suit your topic and style.


  1. PowerPoint includes an option for Notes (View menu) and Handouts (Print menu). These are extremely handy options.  Consider distributing the handouts until after the presentation.


  1. Check spelling, grammar, parallelism, etc. Wait a day, and then check it again. Make back up copies on your hard drive, email yourself a copy, print copies and put one on a flash drive.


  1. Assume nothing will work.  A good presentation does not require media, and media will not make a good presentation.  Your audience should never know there was a problem.


Created by Ross T. LaBaugh

August 2009