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PowerPoint Skills

Here are the top 10 tips for creating an effective PowerPoint report that will impress your clients

  1. Only tell your clients what they need to hear. The most important thing to keep in mind when constructing a PowerPoint presentation is that you must only tell your clients what they need to know - not everything you learned while completing the report. Clients are busy and stressed like everyone else, and only want to hear the key messages that address the solution 
  2. Clear structure. Every PowerPoint should contain the following slides: 
    •  The Cover Page
    •  The Disclaimer Page 
    •  The Contents Page and Section Dividers
    •  An Executive Summary
    •  Content Slides   
  3. Clear headlines for each slide. The headline should form a link between the message on the previous slide and the message on the next page. Headlines must add value and answer a client's "so what" question. Your headline should also make sense, and should help the page to stand-alone.  In other words, if someone found just that one slide, it should make sense to him or her without seeing any of the other slides. The headline should only be one sentence long.
  4. One message per page. All slides should be page-numbered except for the contents page and the section dividers.  Each slide should communicate only one message.  Use bullets to communicate either quotes or facts. You can use an appendix for more in-depth information that you wish to share with your client.    
  5. Kickers. You may wish to add something to your slide called a "kicker." Kickers are added to a PowerPoint presentation to add clarification, summarization, or implications of any information that has been presented. 
  6. Clear language. When creating an effective PowerPoint, you will use bullet points and sub-bullets, not full sentences. Sequential text should contain parallel  text, and your style should feature active voice rather than passive voice i.e. the noun and the verb should come at the beginning of the sentence. Make sure you are specific use only the words that need to be used, and refer to the company as "it" not "they."  Do not use contractions. 
  7. Large font. Your font should never go under 10 points when constructing a PowerPoint for presentation. 
  8. Clear sourcing of data.When using notes or sources, you will need to refer to notes with letters and sources should be identified with numbers. The notes and sources list will come underneath the data.  Anytime two data sets are on one page, put all sources and notes at the bottom of the page. 
  9. Evidence based opinions. If any opinions are included in the presentation, they need to be tightly linked to evidence supporting the statement. There is no place in your presentation for bold assumptions or conjectures.
  10. White space. Finally, make sure that you leave white space in your presentation.  If you don't have white space, you have put entirely too much into your presentation. If this is the case for you, delete the information until you have only the necessary components to communicate the main ideas to your client.  You can put the rest in the document's appendix. 


 
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