What's the powerpoint? - 4 basic tips for a killer presentation

Businesses talk to each other in powerpoint, your company presentation is a reflection of you as a business and it needs to speak on your behalf loud and clear

We have been building powerpoint templates and finessing presentations for many years, our corporate clients include some of the biggest companies around, so here are a few basic tips for all powerpoint business users.


Get the template right first Powerpoint is not particularly user-friendly, but it is designed for its purpose, all the functions you need to produce a professional presentation can be built into the template. On the master pages your template designer should have placed styles for text and bullet lists appropriate to your usual presentation style. They should have defined areas for graphics and charts as well as header & footer styles, page numbers etc.


Teach the operators how to use the template properly. When building your presentation the three most useful tips i can give are: use the slide layout palette to define each slide, you can add finesse to the presentation later, the important thing is to get the info in and to-style first. when you choose a slide layout style powerpoint adds the necessary elements to the slide, use them, don't draw a text box, choose a slide layout that contains a text box. If you need a second text box copy the one on the slide as it will have the format embedded. use 'Edit > paste special > Unformatted text' when you paste text in as it will automatically take the style defined in the template. use the custom colours specified these can be found at 'Format > Custom Colours' they also appear as the top row in any colour pallette in powerpoint.


Powerpoint animation and slide transition I also have 3 useful tips for animation/transition: Just don't do it. (dances in letter by letter, to oompah band soundtrack) honestly don't. (72pt bold red font spinning in from the bottom) really, really don't (boxes in, expands, and zooms off left) Apart from a very select few clients in the media industry very little animation is actually needed, it distracts from the message and adds an unnecessary level of design complication in case last minute changes are necessary. If you absolutely must animate, use subtle 'fades' and simple 'wipes' as entrances and 'disappear' for exits.


Corporate fonts and graphics Fonts in powerpoint are a nightmare, the help file says that you can embed them, but if you read the small print you'll find that most corporate fonts are a no no and its back to Arial, Times or any other generic font that everybody has. If if simply has to be Helvetica Neue bold extended then use a graphic, 24 bit PNG with no background. One of the good things about powerpoint is that it loves PNG files and PNG files are great, they handle transparency brilliantly and you can place these files over patterned backgrounds easily and cleanly.

Ask your designer to supply a couple of slides of logos and graphics on your template in PNG format to cut and paste. Graphics look best if they are cut out from the background, they have impact without destroying the slide branding and can be placed as enhancements as well as for subject illustration, again PNG tranparency comes in very handy. Add a few slides of company imagery to the template

This article covers the basics, at Presentation People we put as much thought and creativity into our Powerpoint Presentations as we do to our Annual Reports, Websites and Corporate Brochures and we think it is just as important.

About the Author

Tony Batt has been 'the powerpoint guy' for quite a few years now. He is passionate about powerpoint and wants the whole world to see the light.