It is estimated that every day all around the world, MS PowerPoint is used to create around 30,000,000 presentations. So, how many of these are ineffective and is there any limit to the number of bad presentations that audiences must endure?  

It can be torturous to sit through overly long, boring PowerPoint presentations that no one is interested in. It is even worse if you are the one delivering a presentation to a disinterested audience.     


The fact is that everyone wants presentations to be more effective, engaging and concise. The following 16 tips are designed to help you achieve this.

Begin by understanding your audience:

Who will be listening to your presentation? Who exactly are they, what are their ages, what is their occupation and income range? Having this information will help you build and tailor your presentation.

Say why your message is significant or important

Your message should be tailored to the needs and interests of your audience so that a) they know the reason for your presentation and b) you can achieve your objectives.

PowerPoint is not the only presentation-making tool!

You need not worry if you do not have access to PowerPoint! There are a number of other excellent presentation-making tools available, and some of them are free! One very powerful and effective photo editing option is Canva. This tool has a great range of fonts and several filtering options that make it really easy to build powerful, professional-looking, highly-engaging, custom-made presentations. With Canva, you have access to a vast range of templates and design tools to help you custom-build a presentation to your precise requirements. Moreover, it is free!

Two other good web-based options are Google Slides and Prezi, both of which are free. These facilitate presentations anywhere across the Internet.

Slides should be kept concise and to-the-point

There should be just one main point or take-away message per slide. An excessive amount of information on a single slide can confuse an audience. So, focus on one key point per slide with some explanatory bullet points.

Use images and visuals as enhancers

The use of visuals in a presentation can help emphasize a point.

Think about using PowerPoint templates

There are up to 15 good PowerPoint templates on various website, including’s, as well as some additional tips you may find useful. These should help you build a stylish presentation. It is not necessary to use every feature that PowerPoint offers. However, some are definitely useful for enhancing a presentation.

Bullet points are more effective in a presentation than paragraphs

Bullet points on slides provide the audience with the main points of a presentation. They also give the presenter some cues to keep their thoughts on track. However, slides should not be overloaded with bullet points. This technique is good for keeping an audience in tune with the presenter rather than them reading the words on the slides.

Slides should not do the presenter’s talking. It is a good idea to limit words to six per line and six lines to each slide.

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Make sure text is legible

Use a style of text that is easy for your audience to read. The best font types are Helvetica or Arial. Use fancy fonts only in headlines.

Avoid reading word-by-word from slides

Presentation slides should be used to supplement the spoken word and to draw attention to main points. As the presenter, keep your slides simple and use them to get your main points or message across. You should, of course, elaborate on the words displayed on your slides but you should not read them verbatim. When using bullet points, elaborate on each one by telling a joke, anecdote or some interesting fact.

Try and make your presentations last less than twenty minutes

Studies suggest that twenty minutes is as long as adults remain attentive at any given time. Therefore, it is best not to let presentations over-run this time. It can help to let your audience have a break but keep their interest by playing a demo or video.

Engage your audience by using videos

Videos can occasionally add something over and above to a presentation. Only use them if they are value-added, beneficial and directly relevant to your presentation. Use a two to four minute clip to convey your main idea(s).

Do not place quantity over quality

Try not to waste your listeners’ time with fillers and irrelevancies. Add good-quality information to your slides and use them only to add value to a presentation.

Use other presentations as learning aids

Not all presentations are equal – some are better. Check out other people’s presentations to get ideas before starting on yours. Pay special attention to how visuals are laid out and used.

Use your own computer and other hardware items

If you intend to use a USB, formatting is very important. It is a good idea to take the laptop you are accustomed to using along with you. Put a backup copy of your PowerPoint presentation on a USB drive in case of mishap. You can also save your presentation to Dropbox or send it to your own email address.

Do plenty practice

The key to an effective presentation is preparation. Therefore, you should write a full draft of your speech – set out in bullet points rather than full text. Then speak into your cell phone or some type of voice recorder and replay it. It is surprising how different your voice can sound when you listen to it. This should allow you to spot ways of improving your work.  

It is sometimes possible to improve the impact of your words or points by changing the order. 

End by calling your audience to action

As your presentation comes to an end, offer something that your audience can immediately act on. This equals the exclamation mark at the end of a speech or talk. This is the point where you bring every element together and to a conclusion. What aspect of your presentation can your listeners put into action when they leave?

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