More than 30 million PowerPoint presentations are created every day — and we see many them in our day-to-day work. The best ones tell a story, bring content into focus and help teams deliver messaging in a consistent way. Whether they’re intended to promote products or explain ideas, here’s what we’ve learned from our experience writing and editing presentations:
1. Start with an outline. Having clarity of purpose from the very start about what you want to say (and how you’ll say it) is key to ensuring your audience can quickly internalize your content — and then carry it forward into action. When it comes to structure, remember to tell a story: having a beginning, middle and end will help your presentation stick in people’s minds. You should also tell a story with your titles and headings instead of using simple wayfinding labels.
2. Keep it lean. Too much information can obscure your key takeaways. Your presentation should be a highlight reel with as few slides as possible, not an exhaustive account of every last detail. The most effective and engaging slides are highly scannable: direct and to the point, with just a few short sentences and bullets rather than walls of text.
3. Make it complete. By keeping each slide tight and concise, a lot of the extra details will likely end up in the speaking notes field. But don’t rely on the speaker to do all the work: when created right, a presentation should stand on its own, without needing a live person to deliver it, so it can be used in more places and for more purposes.