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6 Rules of a Compelling PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint Presentation Tips
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By making your PowerPoint presentation boring you don’t simply decrease its value – you set it to zero. If you are planning to screw up your presentation, there is no reason for preparing it in the first place.

When it comes to the success of a presentation, four things matter:

  • Design of the template;
  • The content;
  • The way the content is placed on the slides;
  • Your performance;

If the content and the performance depend on you alone, the design of your PowerPoint presentation can be improved effortlessly following these simple rules. The essential hints below will help you avoid the most common mistakes made by PP users. Also, check out our free eBook with 21 extra tips to create a powerful presentation for your business.

Powerpoint templates

Choose the right PowerPoint presentation template

As I have mentioned before, designs of presentations and websites depend on current trends and techniques. You won't argue that expecting a website to be created from scratch by someone with zero skills in web design would be a crazy idea. The same applies to the design of PowerPoint templates.

gradient presentation template

Gradient PowerPoint template

Hundreds of such premium PowerPoint presentation templates can be found in the TemplateMonster marketplace. They are full of versatile, professionally designed slides, and complemented with customizable maps, charts, and infographics. In other words, they contain everything you need to create unlimited presentations for your projects. To see what they contain, if you are curious to know what’s inside each product, check out our latest review on the Pitch Pro PowerPoint presentation kit.

You can still mess the things up if you really want to, but with a solid framework, it will be much more difficult.

Take care of the compatibility issues

In the 10th grade, I was to prepare a presentation for my physics class. Late in the evening, I realized that I didn't have any writeable CD - only a stack of floppy disks (it was quite a while ago). So, I broke down the .ZIP file of my presentation into several volumes. Unsurprisingly, the school PC didn't have any archive management software installed, so I failed to unzip my file. The B grade for this presentation is a constant reminder always to be ready for any unexpected situation (and to take responsibility for my own mistakes).

If you want to make sure that your PPT file displays properly, better use your own laptop, or specify beforehand if the hardware and software of the PC are fully compatible with your presentation.

Another trick to improve the compatibility is to convert each slide into a flat JPEG file. However, it's not an option if you want to include animations and videos in your presentation.

Use less text and more visuals

You might feel an intense, insurmountable urge to stuff 5 pages of Arial 12 text about air pollution in urban areas into a single slide. Don’t do that. The rule that always works for me is:

One message = one slide

For this very reason, I don’t recommend you to use bullet lists. Instead, create a separate slide with for each bullet point of your list.

Another thing you need to avoid is copy-pasting entire paragraphs of plain text. Don't let PowerPoint steal your audience's attention from you.

Use infographics instead of boring charts and tables. They are easier to digest, and that’s what you need to keep your audience focused.

minimix ppt template

Minimix PPT template

Let's get back to embedding. Not only can images be used to add visuals to your presentation, but also videos, animations and audio files can be embedded too. They will unavoidably increase the size of the file, but it shouldn’t be an issue in 2017.

Carefully select the fonts

Sans serif fonts are always the best choice for digital presentations. They provide a better readability on screens and are more versatile than serifs.

Don’t use the default typefaces such as Calibri, Cambria or Arial. Instead, consider Helvetica. Unlike the aforementioned fonts, it comes in a broad range of weights and styles and allows you to build your presentation using only one type family and retain the integrity of its design.

Also, don’t overlook about such an awesome feature of PowerPoint as font embedding. With its help, you can include your own custom fonts and make your presentation stand out.

Keep it simple

Avoid clutter in your slides, and make them as minimalist as possible. Don’t turn your presentation into a painter’s palette: two or three colors should be enough to express your creativity without making it garish and unprofessional.

minimalist ppt template

A minimalist slide from Pitch Pro template


Don’t overload your slides with animated elements. PowerPoint comes with a whole bunch of transition effects, none of which really contributes any value to your presentation. If you want to add some action to it use only the most subtle and unobtrusive effects. Otherwise, your audience may think that your presentation is not that great on its own and requires all these bells and whistles to draw their attention.

Brevity is the soul of wit

This is, probably, not your doctoral dissertation, so don’t make it too long. Guy Kawasaki recommends keeping your presentation within 10 slides and 20 minutes. A typical presentation lasts no longer than 7-10 minutes. Hour-long presentations are almost never successful.

This is a rule of a thumb and it may not fully work for you, so apply it thoughtfully.

Give your audience a chance to contribute to your report by asking questions on the topic. This will not only prevent them from falling asleep but will also give you an opportunity to enliven the presentation, add a personal touch to it and make it memorable.


I hope that these tips will help you create and present a stunning presentation that will impress your audience and make them burst into applause. And don’t forget to check out our assortment of PowerPoint templates that will save you hours on preparing your presentation.

Powerpoint templates

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