Formatting PowerPoint Slides for a Speech: Tips & Strategies

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  • 0:01 Using Powerpoint
  • 1:23 How Much Is Too Much?
  • 3:14 Contrast & Design
  • 4:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

When giving a speech or presentation, many people choose to use PowerPoint or another slideware program. But, how should a person format the slides for greatest impact? Watch this video for tips on formatting PowerPoint slides for a speech.

Using PowerPoint

Alex is preparing a presentation for an important meeting at work. His boss and his boss' boss will be there, along with many other important people in the company. Alex really wants to do a good job and impress everyone. He has a lot of information to present, and he's confident in what he has to say. But, he wonders, 'is that all there is to it?' If he has good information, will that be enough?

For most speeches or presentations, a visual aid is a good idea. Visual aids help people see (or visualize) what the speaker is talking about. For example, if Alex is talking about different types of bicycles in his presentation, he might want to include some images of each type so that he can highlight the differences in them. One common type of visual aid that is appropriate for presentations like Alex's is slideware, or software that allows a user to create a slideshow of important information. One common example of slideware is the software PowerPoint.

Alex knows that it is important to include a visual aid, like PowerPoint, in his speech. It will capture his audience's attention and help them understand what he's talking about. But he's not sure how to create the best PowerPoint presentation possible. Let's look at some tips for creating an effective PowerPoint presentation.

How Much Is Too Much?

Alex is getting ready to present to some important people at his company, and he wants to make a good impression. He is preparing his PowerPoint slides, and the first thing that he has to decide is what information to include on the slides. Remember that PowerPoint is a visual aid, so Alex's slides should be visual in nature. As we mentioned before, part of Alex's presentation involves talking about different types of bicycles that his company might want to sell. Alex needs to highlight the differences in the bicycles and the pros and cons of each.

Alex has several choices for how to put this information on his slides. He could list the differences in the bikes and the pros and cons of each, but then his slides will have a lot of written information, which is bad because too much information can overwhelm the audience and make it hard for them to remember the important things. Plus, written information is not visual.

Another thing that Alex could do is just to list the names of the different types of bikes on his slide and then talk about them in depth. This will keep the slides from having too much information, but too little information can confuse the audience and leave them wondering what the important information is. And, again, naming the types of bikes is not visual. The best option for Alex is to show a visual representation of each type of bike, like a picture. He can highlight the special parts of the bikes by pointing them out and typing a word or phrase that represents what he's talking about, like 'wide wheels' or 'comfortable seat.'

The single best thing that Alex can do for his PowerPoint presentation is to include the right amount of information on the screen so that the audience is neither overwhelmed nor confused. Second, again, he should try to make the slides visual in nature to help the audience understand what he's talking about.

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