In designing a PowerPoint deck, a little planning is crucial.

Create an outline.

A little planning goes a long way. Most presentations are written in PowerPoint without rhyme or reason. The reason why you are putting up slides is to expand what you are going to say to your audience. You should at least know what you are going to say and then think of how to visualize it.

Create a script that has a good storytelling sequence: it has a beginning, middle, and end. Make your audience appreciate each slide but interested to find out what’s next; and better still, always leave them wanting more.

One topic at a time.

Just one new point is displayed at any given moment. Bullet points can be revealed one at a time as you reach them. Charts can be put on the next slide to be referenced when you get to the data the chart displays. You must control the flow of information so that you and your audience are attuned to one another.

Skip the paragraphs.

A Powerpoint presentation is meant to reinforce your points, and it is not meant to bore your audience with long text and complicating charts. If you really need to dispense the information, print them separately and distribute them to the audience if need be, but don’t display them into the screen and read it from the screen.

Visual design is important.

Avoid dressing up your pages with cheesy effects. It is a big no-no. Focus instead on simple design basics like using uncluttered sans-serif fonts for easy reading. Use dark background sparingly. The preferred style should be black text and white background. Use coloured text only to highlight headlines or subheadlines and limit to maximum 2 colours for the whole presentation. Use center alignment of text sparingly. The preferred alignment is left. Lastly, avoid clutter like a plague. Keep to 1 or 2 photo images per page, that’s it. Don’t ever use those hideous cliparts. They don’t have any place in your professional presentation – unless you want to be funny on a certain point.