If you have an upcoming PowerPoint presentation, then you're starting to scramble to get your ideas together.
You need to plan how you'll approach creating it. You know your topic and audience, and you know that your presentation has to grab attention, plus follow a logical order, and flow with clarity. It will take some work to achieve this, but the first step to a successful presentation is to simply sit down and begin to write.
This can be a stressful process. How are you supposed to get everything you know about X, Y, Z topic into the small, to-the-point, and articulate package that is a PowerPoint presentation?
Here, we make it simple. We’ll go over how to write a PowerPoint presentation—quickly and painlessly. We’ll start with how to write a compelling introduction with a fail-proof “hook”, how to create an outline, and how to finish strong. Then we’ll wrap it up with some helpful design tips—so the written and visual components of your presentation come together.
Before you jump into this tutorial, have a look through our professional PowerPoint templates on GraphicRiver. We'll walk you through how to plan and writing your presentation, but the design also needs to be on target with your goals.
Guide to Making Great Presentations (Free eBook Download)
Also, take the knowhow you'll learn in this tutorial further. Be sure to download our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations.
Learn the complete presentation process in this comprehensive guide. That way, you can go beyond writing your presentation, and learn to design all your slides like a pro, deliver to your audience with impact, and more.
Now let's get into the writing process that leads to a professional PowerPoint presentation!
1. Research For Your Presentation
Step 1. Develop Your PowerPoint Presentation’s ‘Thesis’
Right now, before you get any further in the process, write out what your topic is in one sentence. Think of it as a mini-thesis for your presentation.
In order to be effective, your single-sentence “thesis” must be specific, relevant, and debatable. It is an argument that you will spend the rest of your presentation proving.
For example, you may start with a statement like, “It’s good for photographers to be aware of their surroundings.” Getting a little more specific may look like, “As a street photographer it’s important to be clear about your circumstances.”
And finally, getting as specific and clear as possible might look like this “mini-thesis” from one of our photography tutorials:
Few things are more important as a street photographer than being clear on the context, or circumstances, in which you are photographing.
Step 2. Identify the Most Relevant Points
Now that you’ve written out your topic's mini-thesis, it’s time to get to the main points.
The simplest way to do this? Make a list. Jot down everything that comes to mind on your topic. Once you’ve done this, go back through the list and highlight (or circle or underline) the points that are most important.
Remember, one key factor of your thesis is debatability. Treat this like an argument that you are trying to win. If you only had 5-6 main points to persuade a listener to agree with your opinion, which points would you choose?
Step 3. Outline Your PowerPoint Presentation
Your outline is simply a list of your main points and subpoints of your presentation. Check out this article on resume design for example:
“Step 3” is a main point; “1. Basic Setup” is a subpoint; and the rest of the text are, well, sub-subpoints.
Take the main points you wrote in Step Two and write a few bullet point notes below them as subpoints arguing each main point you want to make.
2. Sit Down to Write
Step 1. Start Strong
Remember that mini-thesis we worked on? You’re about to be really glad you did it.
Your introduction should consist of two things: your thesis and a summary of your outline. It's important to find the right balance with how you approach this. You want to neatly skim over each of the main points you will be covering but without giving too much away too early.
Your introduction shouldn’t just be informative, it needs to be engaging, too. It's your opportunity to convince your listeners that what you have to say is interesting and worth their attention. It should grab their attention.
Step 2. End Strong
Your conclusion will look and sound a lot like your introduction. The only difference is that your introduction is to intrigue and your conclusion is to call your listeners to action.
Avoid watered down phrases as you wrap up your points. Don't give hints or suggestions. Instead, use direct language and make impactful summary points.
Focus on what you want your listeners to leave your presentation thinking about and taking action on.
Step 3. Create a Compelling Hook and Angle
Your goal with the first statement of your introduction is to hook your listeners. You want to say something that makes them want to keep listening.
Ways to hook audience:
- Use a provocative statement.
- Tell a brief story or anecdote.
- Ask a rhetorical question.
- Say something that shocks or surprises your audience.
- Bring up a problem and share the solution.
This tutorial on how to make a persuasive presentation has a number of helpful tips on crafting a compelling hook:
Step 4. Turn Your Main Points Into Mini Hooks
Think of each main point as a mini hook. A point is an opportunity to draw your audience in. Take advantage of this. Every main point you make should be a memorable one-liner. And when it comes to the delivery of each point, remember to speak clearly, state slowly, and pause where appropriate for effect.
3. Get Your Presentation Design Right
The writing process for PowerPoint, isn't produced in isolation. It's one of a number of contributing factors that need to be planned in partnership to craft an effective presentation. Design is just as important.
Nothing will distract your audience more than a poorly designed PowerPoint presentation. Even if you’ve rehearsed thirty times, even if you’ve properly emphasized your main points, even if you have the most engaging hook, it just won't move an audience without a clear design strategy that visually pulls your presentation together. Here are a few critical design steps to take:
Step 1. Choose an Engaging PPT Template Design
Your slides need to be up-to-date and relevant. Have you ever seen a presentation that used a template that looks like it’s outdated or overused? Yeah, so has your audience. Instead, download a modern (yet simple) PowerPoint Templates from our marketplace. There are many professional options to choose from.
Step 2. Work With Relevant Presentation Graphics
Photos and graphics are a great way to make a presentation more engaging. If they’re chosen well. But they can also be distracting.
Graphs are more likely to cause your audience to focus on the screen instead of on what you’re saying. If you decide to use a graph or infographic to illustrate a point, choose one that is simple to read.
Because photos and illustrations can be distracting, use them when it add to the understanding of your point. When you use graphic assets, make sure they are relevant, in a current style, and are high quality.
You can grab a PowerPoint template that has an attractive, pro design, and comes loaded with great graphic slide options (such as simple graphs, photo layouts, and usable infographics) as featured in this article:
- Microsoft PowerPoint12 Best PowerPoint Presentation Templates—With Great Infographic SlidesSean Hodge
Step 3. Format Your Slide Text for Readability
Your text formatting should be purposeful and visually consistent.
Your main points should act as headlines to a slide and should be a different size (or even font) then your body text, and the fonts and sizes for each should remain the same throughout all your slides.
Also, remember that when it comes to what’s included on your PowerPoint presentation slides, less is always more. If you add too much, it can quickly clutter your slide, and confuse your points. You want your presentation slides to read clearly.
A presentation is about you and what you have to say. Your slides are merely the back-up dancers.
Discover more professional PowerPoint presentation tips in this article:
Write a Professional PowerPoint Presentation Today!
Writing a PowerPoint presentation doesn’t have to be stressful. Just remember, your first step to a successful presentation is to simply sit down, start planning, and write it all out before you even open up PowerPoint.
The process of writing a presentation is a straightforward, linear one. All you’ve got to do is follow the steps. Write your thesis and main points, create a solid introduction and conclusion, find ways to hook your audience, and bring it all together with a visually appealing set of slides that back you up.
Now that it’s time to write up your next PowerPoint presentation, you’ve got the steps listed out for you. Take them one at a time and you'll see your ideas quickly transform into a polished presentation.
If you have any follow up questions or tips about how to write a presentation, plan what you'll cover, and then craft it in PowerPoint, leave a comment below.
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