PowerPoint is a much-hated and much-used tool. Business writers rely heavily on PowerPoint for presentations, training materials, recruiting, reports and more.
You can blame the program; it’s all too easy to produce cluttered and dated- looking slides, it’s cumbersome and time-consuming. But blaming the program and it’s limitations will only get you so far. Right now, business writers need to make the best of this tool to produce clear, powerful and persuasive slides.
Writing for PowerPoint is much different than any other type of writing. Instead of complete sentences, you write in bullet points and brief statements. Instead of using writing to educate and persuade, you rely on a balance of written words, images and your speaking.
How can you make your next PowerPoint presentation better?
1. Don’t underestimate the amount of time required to research, outline, write and prepare your presentation. It takes time to create a successful presentation, sometimes up to thirty hours to create a thirty minute presentation. Make sure you give yourself enough time.
2. Watch verb agreement. When writing in bullet points or short fragments, it’s easy to forget about verb tenses. Use active verbs as often as possible and make sure all the tenses agree. For example:
XYZ Division needs to:
- Keeping costs down
- Eliminate overproduction (These verbs don’t agree.)
3. Edit extensively. Delete any text that isn’t absolutely necessary. Keep slides clean and streamlined by including only one or two central points. Many people prefer including extensive details in the “speaker’s notes” section with explanations, sources and prompts for discussion.
4. Create a word limit for each slide – and stick to it. Your word limit will depend on the topic, number of slides and amount of detail.
5. Keep the entire presentation consistent. Streamline the presentation by using the same font and color scheme throughout. Use a consistent tone to unite all slides into one cohesive presentation or narrative.
Do you struggle with PowerPoint? Do you have any tricks for writing PowerPoint presentations? How do you make yours appealing and engaging?
- Here’s How To Spice Up Your PowerPoint Presentations (businessinsider.com)
- Does PowerPoint Suck? (bly.com)
- 5 Shocking Design Mistakes (scribd.com)