A well-done PowerPoint can be a powerful thing. It can engage a crowd, teach students, convey your hard-won research findings, and help disseminate knowledge. The line between a good PowerPoint and a bad one, however, is one that is often crossed. Many clients come to us for assistance with their thesis or dissertation PowerPoints, needing editing and reformatting because of negative feedback they’ve received. Today’s blog will take a look at how you can construct an effective and engaging PowerPoint.

Focus on substance, not style, at first.

We’ve seen clients who are preoccupied with their clip art, pictures, memes, fonts, colors, and designs instead of the actual material on the slides – and this never makes for a strong presentation. Writing the text of your presentation is the first thing you should do, and until the text is revised and polished, don’t even think about the aesthetics of the PowerPoint. That will come later. The most important thing is writing up slides that get your main points across in a clear and concise way.

Brevity is the soul of wit.

This old adage remains true, but it’s also something to keep in mind with PowerPoint presentations. Cluttered slides full of text are green lights for audience members to zone out or simply not pay attention to you. A PowerPoint should highlight main ideas, not consist of everything you’re going to say.

Size matters…for graphics.

If you have graphs, charts, or visual representations of your data, make sure they are legible and easy to read. Same with text, so avoid overloading slides, using hard-to-read fonts, and creative “formatting.”

Make it easy on the eyes.

Once you have the text and you’ve edited it (or had a trusted editor like Dissertation Editor do so), then you can focus on making it pretty. Choose pops of color and a visual theme, but don’t go overboard. You don’t want a rainbow of colors on slides to distract the audience from the message. Avoid clip art if you can, and use stock images. Use animation VERY sparingly, if at all. When in doubt, go with simple, direct formats like bullet points or minimal text on the page, and align your text consistently.

Less is more. REALLY.

This one bears repeating because we see it all the time, over and over. Remember, the PowerPoint is a supplement to your presentation. You shouldn’t be reading from it; it should simply serve to reinforce the main concepts and points.

Putting together effective PowerPoint presentations is a skill and can take practice. Why not take some of the pressure off and let Dissertation Editor provide you with assistance? We offer editing, formatting, and developmental assistance with PowerPoint presentations and can help with presentation practice via Skype, as well as consultations with you to help make your PowerPoint the best it can be. Contact us today to learn more!