Writing advice for PowerPoint presentations (part 1 of 2)

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Use this page for advice when writing a Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT) presentation. There’s a great many components to creating a PPT. This page is part one and focuses on determining where you’ll use the presentation, defining your purpose, and narrowing down your audience. Page 2 is here.

How and where

Depending on how and where you present will shape your PPT creation as difference locations require different components and level of detail. Here’s a few ways PPTs are used:

  • Speech at a convention: Your goal here is to convince or persuade a large number of viewers. Narrow down your language.
  • Small meeting: Your goal here focuses on generating discussion, informing viewers, and providing details.
  • In-room presentation: Your goal here is to determine if you want the focus on you, the speaker, or the presentation. Will your PPT be a simple visual aid, or the main focus on the topic.
  • Conference call screen share: Your goal here is to share information but also keep people on the phone engaged. Avoid text heavy screens so they can focus on what you are saying.

What is it about

Even before crafting and working on your PowerPoint, clearly define the purpose of your PPT.

  • Like a good story, your PowerPoint should have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Your PPT needs to accomplish something by the time you are finished.
  • The audience must come away with a clear picture of what you just presented.

Who’s viewing your PPT

Asking yourself a few simple questions will help shape the language, tone, and content of your PowerPoint.

  • What are the roles of the viewers?
  • Who cares about what I’m showing?
  • Is this information interesting?
  • Does this PPT impact the audience in any way?
  • Are they strangers, friends, co-workers, or potential investors?

For more continue to Page 2, which includes formatting suggestions, tone and voice, writing on-brand, and items to never include in a PPT.

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