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How to Create Great PowerPoint Presentations (With Top Examples)

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If you're in business, odds are great that you're going to have to create a presentation at some point during your career. And when you do, odds are also good that you'll use Microsoft PowerPoint to do it. According to statistics from iDatalabs over 150,000 companies use PowerPoint.

powerpoint presentations
If you give PowerPoint presentations, you need to make sure they stand out. Not everyone knows how to make a good presentation. (Image source: Envato Elements)

There's a real need for people who can create relevant, engaging PowerPoint presentations. But creating a good presentation is more than just throwing together a bunch of slides. Not everyone knows how to make a good presentation.

In this tutorial, you'll learn the steps to making a good presentation. The steps can be used for any presentation, of course, but they're especially relevant to Microsoft PowerPoint. I'll provide some tips on how to use a PowerPoint template. I'll also share some top presentation examples from SlideShare.

For even more information about how to make a presentation, be sure to download our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It'll help you master the complete presentation process.

make a presentation

How to Make Great PowerPoint Presentations

Whether you're going to give your PowerPoint presentation as a speech or share it online, you'll want to make sure you create a good presentation that stands out. Here are seven steps you can follow to make sure that your presentation is top-notch:

Note: While these techniques specifically reference PowerPoint, most of them work well with other presentation author tools as well such as Keynote and Google Slides.

1. Know Your Target Audience

The target audience for your presentation is the group of people who you want to listen to or view your presentation. Not all audiences are the same. Audiences vary depending on your company's goals. A presentation that works well with one audience may not work well with one audience may not work at all with another.

Researching your target audience is a very important first step for creating any kind of marketing or informational material—that includes PowerPoint presentations. If you really want your presentation to be successful, learn all that you can about your audience.

For some guidance on how to define a target audience, study the following tutorial:

2. Target Your Presentation to Your Audience

Once you know who you're creating your PowerPoint presentation for, you can begin to customize it for them. Start by choosing a topic that you know will be relevant to your audience. Ideally, your topic will be something that interests your audience or solves a problem for them.

You also need to consider your audience's existing knowledge when writing your presentation. Obviously, it won't be helpful to create a presentation filled with industry-specific jargon if your listeners don't know what those words mean. At the same time, if you're targeting a group of experts for your presentation basic information may bore them.

3. Start With an Outline

Once you've researched your target audience and chosen a topic that's relevant to them it's time to start writing your presentation. The quickest, most efficient way to do that is to use an outline. Plus an outline can easily be converted to individual slides when the time comes.

Be sure to use language that's geared to your target audience. For most audiences, a conversational style works best. Also, limit the amount of material you put on each PowerPoint presentation slide. Cluttered slides are hard for audience members to follow.

To learn more about how to write a presentation, study these tutorials on how to write a speech:

4. Use a Professional PowerPoint Template

One way to make sure that you've got a great, visually appealing PowerPoint presentation is to use a premium PowerPoint template such as those available through Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.

powerpoint examples
Here are some PowerPoint examples from Envato Elements of templates that can be useful in creating your presentation.

In fact, there are hundreds of creative PowerPoint presentations examples available on Envato Elements. All you need to do is pay one low monthly price and you can download as many templates as you want. You'll have access to other creative assets as well such as WordPress themes, stock photos, and even courses and eBooks.

You can find some great creative PowerPoint presentation template examples in this article

5. Practice Your PowerPoint Presentation (for Live Presentations)

Great PowerPoint presentations don't happen without practice. So, if you'll be presenting your PowerPoint personally, set aside some time to practice it after you've created it. If you can, practice with a friend or family member. But if no one's available you may still be able to practice giving it alone.

For a helpful checklist for practicing a speech, study this tutorial:

If your job requires you to give a lot of PowerPoint presentations, you may benefit from improving your public speaking skills. Consider joining Toastmasters International to become a better speaker. Or you can attend a Public Speaking Meetup.

6. Stay Focused

While you're giving your presentation, stay focused on your topic. If you're making the presentation in person, it's easy to lose track of what you're talking about.

Focus is another reason why practice is so important. If you've practiced your presentation, you're less likely to get off track. Also if people have questions, ask them to wait until the end. That way you can stay focused on your topic.

If you're creating a presentation to be shared online, focus is still important if you want your PowerPoint presentation to be a great one. Review the copy you've written carefully to make sure that it fits with your target audience and goals. Be careful not to include irrelevant information.

7. Study Great PowerPoint Presentation Examples

One great way to learn how to create great PowerPoint presentations is by example. Studying examples of good presentations, whether they were created in PowerPoint or not, can serve as inspiration for your own PowerPoint slideshow.

5 SlideShare Examples of Great Presentations

In this section, I'm going to share five good presentations examples from SlideShare to help inspire you to create your own great PowerPoint Presentations. Each of these great presentation examples currently has over a million views on SlideShare, so you know that they must have done something right. For each example, I'll explain what works.

Now let's look at some great presentation examples:

1. Work Rules

This presentation from Laszlo Bock, former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, Inc., clearly explains the importance of culture at tech giant Google. He does it with engaging illustrations and a nicely coordinated yellow and blue color theme. Notice how each slide contains enough information to make his point, but none are too cluttered.

2. Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling

Consultant Gavin McMahon brings us this engaging slideshow on the importance of storytelling. Drawing inspiration from filmmaker giant and master storyteller, Pixar, was a great idea for this presentation. It gives the audience something they can relate to. Notice the use of bold colors throughout.

3. 25 Mission Statements From the World's Most Valuable Brands

Does your business have a mission statement? If it doesn't, it needs one. Palo Alto Software solves a problem for their target audience by using the mission statements of some of the most successful corporations as examples (good and bad). The presentation also links to a companion article from company founder, Tim Berry, with more details on the same subject.

4. Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You

With the shocking opening statement, PR Managing Director Mark O'Toole is sure to capture the attention of his intended audience of young graduates. Add to that a bold red and black color scheme and plenty of engaging graphics and you've got a slideshow that's gotten over two million views. Incidentally, viewers who read to the end will gain some valuable job-hunting tips.

5. Thirst

The one word in the center of the compelling graphic on the cover of this slideshow from Jeff Brenman of Apollo Ideas draws the viewer in. As you begin to scroll through the slides, arresting images combine with startling quick facts to convey an urgent message: the world is facing a serious water shortage. This compelling presentation is sure to stick in viewer's minds for a long time.

For even more great examples of good presentations, look at these articles:

4 Tips for Working With PowerPoint Presentation Templates

We've already mentioned some of the advantages of using a PowerPoint template to create your presentation. Here are four tips to make sure you get the most from the PowerPoint templates you select:

1. Don't Fall Into the Free Templates Trap

If you've decided to use a PowerPoint template, you may be tempted to download a free template. However, downloading a PowerPoint template for free is usually not the bargain you might think it is. Here are some disadvantages to free PowerPoint templates:

  • Little to no support. Often free templates don't have support or aren't updated. If you run into problems, you're on your own.
  • Lack of uniqueness. Since free templates are available to everyone, it's more likely your audience will have seen the template before.
  • Limited slide designs. Free templates are often limited to only a few simple slide designs that you may or may not be able to use.

2. Look for a Reputable Template Provider

Your best bet for selecting PowerPoint templates is to choose a reputable provider, such as Envato Elements or GraphicRiver. These services have thousands of creative assets available (including PowerPoint presentation templates)—all created by professional designers. 

GraphicRiver templates
Examples of our best-selling PowerPoint templates on GraphicRiver. These templates can be purchased individually.

Each template offers the flexibility and design options you need to make your presentation really unique.

3. Do Incorporate Creative Elements

If you're creating a presentation, you might hesitate before adding a truly creative element such as an infographic or timeline to your presentation. After all, designing a creative element can add a lot of extra time and work to your project.

This is exactly where pre-built templates can help. Many templates include pre-designed creative elements that you can simply adapt to your own needs. Here are a few PowerPoint presentation examples:

Even if you can't find a template specifically tailored to your field, it's easy to customize these templates to suit your need.

Make Great PowerPoint Presentations (Free PDF eBook Download)

Our free eBook makes a perfect complement to this tutorial. It'll take you through the complete presentation process—from start to finish. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.

Free PDF ebook

Download our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It's available for free with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.

Start Creating Your Own Great PowerPoint Presentations Today

You've just learned the steps for making a great PowerPoint presentation. I've also shared some good presentation examples with ideas that could apply to your PowerPoint presentation. You now have the information you need to begin creating your own great presentation.

As we discussed earlier, one way to give your PowerPoint presentations a head start is to use a premium template designed by professionals. We've even shared some tips for working with PowerPoint presentation templates. Why not download a template from Envato Elements or GraphicRiver and begin creating your own great PowerPoint presentations today?

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