How to structure a PowerPoint presentation: a step-by-step guide

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College and university students in the USA meet the presentation assignments almost as frequently as essays or research papers. However, they can seem more complicated, as presentations include public speaking, and not every person is psychologically prepared for this activity. Still, presentation skill is valuable for companies where the students can seek future employment. Thus, practicing it is an essential part of university-provided skills, and you should not neglect it. Here are several tips that can help you become a presentation-making expert, so read them and use them while working on your assignment.

Divide the topic of your presentation into subtopics

The structure of a presentation partially resembles the structure of standard student papers, as its aim is the same: explore and represent the topic to listeners. However, a verbal conversation uses different keys to reach the audience. So, it’s better to come up with fresh ideas for the presentation before writing its outline.

  • One statement per one slide. You are probably familiar with the essay rule of “one topic per one paragraph,” and the same statement applies to presentations. You need to make your thoughts clear to the audience. Dividing the broad topic into smaller fragments helps you explain your idea better and focus on specific aspects that you may need to accentuate.
  • Try to illustrate the statements instead of reading them. The content of slides matters as much as their sequence. The text on slides should be brief – 3 or 4 main ideas are enough to remind the audience of your thought. Besides, you can supply them with illustrations, graphs, or charts if your presentation uses collected research data or refers to academic sources that use statistics to process the results of their research.
  • Use examples or refer to personal experience. Interaction with a live audience is more active than with a silent reader of your paper, and you can use one or two practical examples to make your idea closer to the audience. Still, do not use them excessively and turn the presentation into a self-presentation.
  • Do not forget about the starting and the closing slides. The starting slide contains the presentation title, author’s name, the title of the course, and date, if necessary. The closing slide may be useful to thank the audience for their attention or mention presentation contributors. Although this may seem a small gesture, attention to detail and politeness may improve the overall presentation impression.

Manage your speech structure carefully

The speaking time management in the presentation is somehow similar to building an essay structure before reading it. You need to have an introduction that justifies and explains the topic choice, the essay body, and the conclusion that reviews everything stated before. However, college or university guidelines often say that the writer should make the introduction and the conclusion no longer than 10% of the paper volume. In the case of presentation, it’s helpful to use this rule too: if the beginning or the ending of your speech is too long, you can lose the audience’s concentration on your words. 

Another helpful tip for essay writing and presentation planning is diving subtopics into equal parts. An essay should cover the whole topic and not overfocus on one aspect. This rule applies to presentations as well. As the speech is almost as important as the presentation itself, it should be coherent with slides. You can supply main statements on the slide with examples or linking phrases that combine subtopics to give a broader view of the global problem. However, a written and a spoken text differ in readability, so you can make your speech a bit less complex and formal than you would write your essay.

Still, many students need assistance with presentations creation and structuring, as public speaking is quite a stressful assignment that requires additional practice. If they need help to create an original presentation or a custom speech from scratch, a PowerPoint presentation writing service may come in handy. The CustomWritings service allows students to buy cheap and personalized sample presentations created by professional academic writers. A customer can order these services  online through the company website to better understand the presentation structure and inspire them to use this knowledge to produce top-quality work. 

Do not forget about interaction with slides

The presentation and the speech should come along, and the speaker who emotionlessly reads the text and switches slides does not have the best chance to catch the audience’s attention. However, here are several tips to improve the integrity of your speech and presentation and turn them into an interesting and meaningful combination.

  1. Divide your speaking time into equal parts. Do not stick to one slide for too long, and if you see too much information on one slide, try separating it into two. Slide change partially “refreshes” the audience’s attention and reminds them of the presentation topics. Obviously, this does not apply to starting and closing slides that need to be briefer.
  2. Refer to illustrations on the slide. If you have placed pictures on the slide, mention them in the presentation speech as well. For example, you can supply a presentation about global warming with photos of nature affected by climate change. Generic images from photo stocks would be less appealing to the audience, as the presentation should be specific. 
  3. Use factual data if provided. If you collected statistics or recited other people’s research in your presentation, put numbers in your speech. You can write them separately, which will improve your speech’s preciseness. A paper or a presentation with data makes a more profound impression than one based only on theoretical deductions.
  4. Memorize your presentation properly. Don’t read the speech text, and review it several times before the presentation. Be sure that you remember the correct English pronunciation of all words and terms. If your speech is not free and fluent enough or does not sound friendly to the audience, it is better to simplify it, as the understanding matters the most for the speaker.

Consequently, you can use these tips to improve your presentation structure and be sure that it catches the audience’s attention. Dedicate one slide to one subtopic, and try dedicating approximately equal time to each of them. Use meaningful illustrations or charts to motivate your assumptions if available in your research field. Finally, practice reading your presentation several times to ensure that you can speak about your topic lively and fluently.

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