How to Make an Effective Presentation (Guide, Tips & Examples)

How to Make an Effective Presentation (Guide, Tips & Examples)
Heleana Tiburca

Written by:
Heleana Tiburca

Aug 24, 2021

Learning how to make a presentation is an incredibly useful skill to have in your tool belt, especially since 55% of an effective presentation comes down to non-verbal communication.

We’ve rounded up the best tips for professional presentation-making and a step-by-step guide on how to make a presentation that will keep your audience engaged from start to finish.

If you're ready to create an engaging presentation, get started with our presentation software. Use hundreds of pre-made presentation templates, access built-in graphics, add multimedia and more.

 

Table of Contents

 

Planning Your Presentation

“A person without a plan is lost before they start.” - Lewis K Bendele

This quote stands true for many aspects of life, but especially for making a presentation that’s powerful and memorable.

If you’re wondering how to make a presentation amazing, then you need to know that it all starts out by choosing a great topic angle, deciding on your presentation’s purpose, and creating a solid structure and outline.

In this section, you’ll find tips and tricks to help you better plan your presentations.

 

1. Choose the topic of your presentation.

Choosing the topic of your presentation is arguably one of the most important parts of presentation creation.

If you’re a student looking for presentation topics, check out our list of 150+ presentation topic ideas covering various subjects to find something you like.

If you’re a business professional, and you don’t have the luxury of picking out your presentation topic, that’s okay. You can always find a unique angle, such as focusing on a specific problem.

Even if it doesn’t seem to be an exciting topic, you can still make your presentation engaging with the right presentation skills and eye-catching presentation visuals.

 

2. Research your topic and know it inside and out.

When the time comes to present your presentation, you need to feel confident in yourself and your abilities in order to win your crowd’s trust.

One way you can achieve this is by knowing all the ins and outs of your topic. This way, you’ll feel prepared for any questions and know just how to answer them.

You can do in-depth research on any topic by reading up on related material online or in a library. But if you want to walk the extra mile, you can even get in touch with some of your audience in advance and ask them what they’d like to see in your presentation.

Public speaking expert TJ Walker explains this well in the short video below:

 

This little trick will help you focus on the important areas, and find answers to legitimate concerns and questions that your audience will likely have.

Another positive note to knowing your topic well is that in case you’re zooming through your presentation and you end up having extra time on your hands, you can add in bonus information about your topic to educate your audience.

 

3. Consider your audience and speak their language.

Now, not only do you need to know your topic well, but you also need to know and study your future audience just as well. Why?

Because by knowing your crowd’s interests, attention span and pain points, you’ll be able to connect them through your presentation. Plus, you’ll be in a better position to solve their problems and add value to their lives.

For example, an advanced, data-driven presentation full of technical jargon might not be the best idea if you're presenting to someone who is new to your field and unfamiliar with complicated terms.

It might end up confusing them instead of leaving a strong impact. You need to be able to speak their language and meet them on their level.

Going back to the example above, your presentation would likely be more successful if you simplify the information and start with the basics before jumping into the data and technicalities.

create a stunning presentation with visme 

 

4. Decide on your presentation’s purpose.

For every presentation you create, you need to have an end goal and purpose in mind.

Every presentation’s goal can be summed up within one of the following purposes:

  • To inform
  • To entertain
  • To inspire
  • To persuade

Your presentation’s purpose may even be a combination of the above four.

The idea of pinpointing your presentation’s purpose is to help you create your presentation’s subject matter, outline and structure more easily.

 

5. Create a solid presentation outline.

In order to make a great presentation, you need to have a great outline to piggyback off of.

According to the University of Arkansas, to create a compelling speech with impactful results, you’ll need three key things in your outline: a compelling intro, a strong body and a conclusion that drives your main points home.

  • A compelling intro: Starting with a strong intro can make your audience sit up in their seats and listen to you. Some ways to start your presentation include asking a thought-provoking question, listing the benefits and shocking the audience with a fact or statistic.
  • A strong body: To write a great body for your presentation, you need to unravel your opening statement, give evidence by including all of your facts and statistics and include supporting arguments to prove your statements and to educate your audience on your topic.
  • An actionable conclusion: In your conclusion, make sure you loop back to your original opening statement and give your audience actionable steps to take in order to reach the solution you have to offer them.

Another important thing to consider when planning your presentation structure is how long your presentation is going to be, and how many slides you’re going to add.

That’s where the 10-20-30 rule can help you out.

The 10-20-30 rule represents 10 slides presented in about 20 minutes with a 30 point font minimum.

business presentation - infographic 10 20 30 rule guy kawasaki

This is not an end-all-be-all rule, but it is definitely great to follow loosely as it will help you stay on track and not overwhelm your viewers with too many slides with too little time or vice versa.

If you want a more in-depth guide on how to structure your presentation, we’ve created one just for you. Give it a read to take your presentation structure to the next level.

 

Writing the Presentation Content

Now that you know how to create a presentation outline, let’s talk about what the content of your presentation should look like.

The content is the real “meat” of your presentation — you need to ensure that it’s credible, full of value and crafted in a way that makes it easy for your audience to understand it.

In this section, we’ll look at some tips to help you craft clear, concise and creative content that’s hard to forget.

 

6. Limit the amount of text on your slides.

Since we’re on the topic of not overwhelming your audience with too much information, it’s a great idea to try to keep your text to about 6-8 lines per slide, like in the example below.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

This will help result in clean and pleasing slides to look at and you won’t risk losing your crowd due to overstimulation.

 

7. Fact-check all your information.

If you want your audience to trust you, then make sure you’re getting all of your information from reputable sources and anyone can fact-check your data.

In fact, you’ll even sound more confident and authoritative when you’re able to prove what you’re saying is true.

Here are some resources to help you fact-check your information:

The worst thing you can do is use faulty information and lose your crowd’s trust because once you do that, it’s near impossible to get it back.

If you’re planning to share your presentation slides online, it’s a good idea to add your sources at the end of your presentation or at the bottom of your slides as footnotes.

 

8. Use storytelling to your advantage.

People are more inclined to remember stories that touched them rather than statistics simply listed out on a slide.

To make your presentation the most effective, you can use a combination of the two and tell a story to back up your main points and data.

For example, instead of simply presenting the numbers upfront, you can give some context by introducing the problem, and explaining what the statistics mean and who they’re affecting.

Learn more about finding stories in data in our detailed guide. Or, watch the video below for a quick summary:

Another storytelling technique to keep in mind is to focus on characters, not objects and numbers. Humans are innately emotional creatures, and understand things best when they can relate to them on a personal level.

For example, if you’re presenting an environmental problem, talk about how it’s affecting people and animals instead of just introducing the problem in technical terms.

 

9. Include lots of practical examples.

Including numbers and data in your presentation is great, but if you don’t relate that information to the real world (i.e. give it context), your audience might get lost or bored.

One way to add context to your presentation content is to include a lot of practical examples. Telling people what a certain piece of information can mean for them in their everyday life can leave a much stronger impact than simply telling them the information exists.

Plus, relatable examples can make your presentation’s take-home message easier to digest and understand.

To explain this better, let’s consider an example (see what I did there?)

Look at the slide below — it’s taken from a redesigned Uber pitch deck that explains briefly how the ride-sharing service works and its key features.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

On its own, the slide above communicates little value. The audience knows how the service works, but they might not be clear about its real-world applications.

Following up with a slide like this one can help:

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Sharing potential use cases with the audience is a great way to show your audience why your idea is interesting, and how it can make a difference. In Uber’s case, it showed investors why the service was worth investing in.

 

10. Use presenter’s notes for additional information.

If you’re afraid that you’re going to forget important information and you’re tempted to write out all your talking points on your slide, stop right there.

Don’t make the mistake of cluttering your slides with text. If the information is too important to leave out, you can always add it into your presenter’s notes.

If you’re using a presentation software like Visme, you can include your presenter’s notes in the designated area at the bottom without sacrificing beautiful slide design.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

These notes will pop up as needed when you’re presenting, and you can choose to have them open on your computer screen while presenting the actual slides on the projector.

 

11. Incorporate your data in a visual way.

We’ve all been there; those long corporate meetings where you give it your all to pay attention to the statistics and numbers slowly being read off of an interminable spreadsheet.

Don’t make that same mistake in your presentation. Incorporate your data in a visual and engaging way by using charts, graphs, maps and data widgets.

The slide template below visualizes website traffic data with the help of a line graph.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

Imagine if all of this information was written out in the form of a complex table full of intricate rows, columns and numbers — yawning? So are we.

When you use a presentation software like Visme, you can add 15+ different types of charts and graphs to your slides, and customize them to fit your design needs. Change their colors, add or remove legends, and even animate the charts.

You can also drag and drop thermometers, progress bars, radials and other data widgets to visualize percentages and stats. Or, use the map generator to visualize geographical information, like in the slide template below.

Create an interactive map for your presentation!Try It For Free

You can make this map interactive, too. So, for example, when someone hovers on one of the regions on the map, additional data can be displayed.

Learn more about what data visualization is, why it’s important, and how to create your own impressive visual data.

Or, watch the quick video tutorial below to learn how to create a chart or graph in Visme.

 

12. Use multimedia to engage your audience.

People’s brains love to be met with the unexpected. Unfortunately, many times presentations are just predictable slides with some text and bullet points on them.

You can make your presentation more exciting for your audience by adding multimedia into the slides. But multimedia presentations include more than just static photos.

They can also include media like embedded videos, GIFs, audio narrations, music, or interactive elements like quizzes, forms, hover effects, links, pop-ups and more.

Here’s a peek at a multimedia presentation we recently created using GIFs to explain Visme’s features:

Create your own presentation with GIFs!Try It For Free

You can easily create a similar presentation of your own using Visme’s presentation maker, which comes with a built-in GIPHY integration.

Another benefit of adding multimedia is that it will give you a nice little break from talking where you can regroup your thoughts and get ready for your next big point.

If you want to learn more, check out our complete guide on creating a multimedia presentation.

 

13. Prepare thought-provoking questions.

We humans are curious creatures who love to learn and have our brains picked at.

Use this to your advantage and captivate your audience’s attention by preparing some questions that require deep thinking on their part.

Here are some ideas:

  • Have you ever…?
  • What if…?
  • What would you do if…?
  • Why do you think…?

Preparing questions in advance for your audience will have their wheels turning and attention on you for the upcoming answer.

“Ready

  • Add your own text, images and more
  • Customize colors, fonts and everything else
  • Choose from hundreds of slide designs and templates
  • Add interactive buttons and animations

 

Designing Your Presentation

Now that we know how to create a presentation outline and we also know what kind of content we need to prepare for our presentation, it’s time to jump into the actual design side of our presentation.

There are so many stunning presentation design ideas and trends you can follow, as well as presentation design tips you can implement to your presentation.

We’re going to cover a few of the most important design tips for you to follow to create a sleek presentation design your audience will love.

 

14. Consider your presentation’s mode of delivery.

Just as it’s important to figure out your presentation’s purpose in order to create its structure, likewise, you need to know how you will deliver your presentation in order to determine the design of it.

For example, for standalone presentations, it’s a great idea to add more text into your slides. But on the other hand, if you’re holding an in-person presentation, it might be a good idea to have less text on your slides.

Once you determine your presentation’s delivery, you can then determine the best presentation design style for it.

 

15. Choose your fonts carefully.

One of the best tips we can give you for sleek presentation design is to use only up to 3 fonts per slide.

If you end up using more than 3 fonts, you forfeit having a nice presentation design and you’ll risk looking messy and unprofessional.

Not only should you limit yourself to using 3 fonts, but you need to make sure that they are similar in style and complement each other, like in the example below.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

One way you can do this is by using font templates from Visme that are predesigned and handpicked by professional designers.

This way, you’ll never have to wonder if your fonts match or look good together ever again.

It’s also important that you keep the fonts you choose consistent throughout your design. This will give your presentation a polished and professional look overall.

If you want to change up the appearance of your font throughout your presentation, then play with the weight, styling, color and size of the text.

 

16. Use high-quality images, icons and visuals.

It’s very important that whatever visuals you choose to add to your presentation are of high quality.

Avoid using pixelated photos, images that have watermarks on them or blurry vector icons in your presentation. By not using high-quality content, you risk off-putting your audience.

Our presentation software has millions of high-resolution stock images and videos, and thousands of high-quality icons for every occasion for you to choose from.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

You can also upload your own images, videos, icons and other visuals from your computer, such as branded graphics or original photos.

By using high-quality visual content for your slides like in the example above, you’ll be taken much more seriously by your audience.

 

17. Keep everything in line with the grid.

Another key point to mention for optimal presentation design is to make sure every element lines up well with each other and is visually pleasing.

Symmetry is directly correlated with beauty, so integrate this knowledge into your slide design and try to keep everything balanced, symmetrical and pleasing to the eye.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

You can easily line everything up to each other by using a grid within our presentation editor, like in the example above.

 

18. Use a single, eye-catching transition.

Static presentations are a thing of the past. Make your presentation more engaging for your audience by using an animated transition between slides.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

Visme has lots of different transitions that you can choose from, as seen above, but we recommend that you use one style of transition for your entire presentation to keep everything cohesive.

 

19. Focus on one main idea per slide.

In order to keep your design sleek and to not overwhelm your audience, it’s best practice to have one main idea or take away per slide. This way, you stay on track, your audience isn’t overwhelmed and your design will be on point because nothing will be cluttered.

You can also use an entire slide to ask a crucial question or highlight an important quote. If you want to bring attention to your next big point, try displaying a single concept on an entire slide.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

This will make for a great change of pace for your audience by quickly going through your slides, thus keeping them engaged with your presentation, and it will also showcase the importance of your next point.

 

20. Choose a cohesive color scheme.

There’s no doubt that color is important. In fact, studies show that colors can directly affect our mood and the way we feel.

Doing some research into the colors you should use for your presentation will greatly benefit your outcome.

This applies not only to the primary color you choose, but the supporting colors as well. It’s important to have a great complementary color scheme throughout your presentation.

If you’re not sure what colors work well together, you can choose one from Visme’s color theme presets, as seen above, that are hand-picked by professional designers for your presentation.

If you have a business, then using your brand colors in your presentation is a great idea and will help with building brand recognition. With Visme, you can upload your brand colors directly to the editor or extract them from your logo.

It’s also important to note that you don’t use two light shades for both the background and text of your slide. To make your text stand out, you need to use contrasting colors.

For example, you can make the background black and your text a bright shade of green to make it stand out, or vice versa. Just be sure that your text is easily readable for your audience.

 

21. Proofread and polish your presentation.

As soon as you have a rough draft of your presentation, you need to begin the proofreading and polishing process.

One helpful trick of the trade when it comes to writing is using free grammar and spell-checking tools. Many times, they’ll catch things you may have never even noticed or seen before.

There are lots of free grammar tools out there for you to use. To name a couple, you could use Grammarly or ProWritingAid.

After going over your presentation a few times, it becomes easier for you to start seeing unnecessary information on your slides.

To make your slides more visually pleasing and less cluttered, you can shorten your text and sentences and condense them into main points and ideas. This will increase negative space in your slide and make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Don’t just quickly glance over your presentation once and call it a day. Go over your presentation a second, third time and even fourth time to make sure that it’s absolutely perfect.

In fact, have a second pair of eyes read over your presentation.

Many times, we become desensitized to our own work and miss out on little mistakes here and there. So, it’s important to let someone else have a look over it before you call it in.

 

Giving a Memorable Presentation

You can have the most amazing presentation in the world on paper, but without proper delivery, it can turn into a complete flop.

So, now that you have all the knowledge on how to make a presentation, it’s time to discuss how you can deliver that presentation in a powerful way.

In this section, we’ll cover tips on how to give a killer presentation that leaves an impact.

 

22. Rehearse your presentation.

Practice, practice and practice again. That’s the way to presentation perfection.

That’s right, no matter how crazy you might sound to the downstairs neighbors practicing your speech out loud alone in your apartment, you need to do it.

Why? Because when you can actually hear yourself present your ideas out loud, you may realize that you’re missing key points of information.

While you’re at it practicing out loud, go in front of a mirror and strike some power poses.

Body language is everything when it comes to presenting your presentation in a powerful way. It can make or break your entire speech. So, use open-handed gestures, smile often and loosen up a bit to come across as a confident presenter.

“Ready

  • Add your own text, images and more
  • Customize colors, fonts and everything else
  • Choose from hundreds of slide designs and templates
  • Add interactive buttons and animations

If you’ve been allotted a certain amount of time for your presentation, then you need to practice while using a timer.

By practicing out loud with a timer, you’ll be able to adjust and readjust the information on your slides to make sure you get all your important information across to your audience.

Another way you can boost your confidence and kick stage fright before the big day of your presentation is to do a practice run of your presentation in front of others.

This will not only help you get used to public speaking, but it also gives them a chance to give you honest feedback on your presentation and let you know if there was anything that could use improvement.

 

23. Memorize your presentation.

Memorizing your speech for your presentation is no easy task. But the more you can remember while you’re up on stage and the fewer “umm’s” and “uh’s” you say, the better.

We rounded up the best ways to memorize a presentation that will significantly help you with your presentation delivery, but we’ll share a few with you here as well.

  • Build a memory palace: Just like the Greeks and Romans used to do, associating concepts and ideas with specific locations can help you remember them more easily.
Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Apply the memorization techniques above while you’re rehearsing your presentation, but make sure you also understand each and every word.

 

24. Start strong to hook your audience.

When it comes to giving presentations, first impressions are extremely important.

The way you start can set the stage for the rest of your talk — you can either have the audience sit up in their seats and give you their full attention, or have them ready to doze off.

There are several proven techniques you can use to start your presentation in a powerful way, such as:

  • Tell a personal story
  • Make a provocative statement
  • Share a shocking fact or statistic
  • Ask a question
  • Start with a prop
  • Show a video or meaningful visual

If you want to learn more about these presentation hooks and more in detail, read our guide to starting a presentation with examples from famous TED talks.

If you prefer watching a video instead, we’ve got you covered.

 

25. Observe your audience’s behavior.

Remember, a presentation — or any talk for that matter — is not a one-way conversation. Effective communication involves constant feedback from the listener, and requires the speaker to react to that feedback appropriately.

So, how does this apply to presentation delivery?

When you’re up on the stage giving your presentation, make sure you constantly observe your audience and their reactions — this includes their facial expressions, body language and even questions.

You might sense your audience is getting bored, for example, if you see a few people fidgeting in their seats, yawning or looking at their phones.

This is your cue to switch things up a bit. For example, you can:

  • Ask a question
  • Change the subject
  • Make them laugh with a joke or humorous statement
  • Get people to stand up or do an activity
  • Take a break if you have enough time
  • Invite questions from the audience

Similarly, if you see your audience is engaged with what you’re saying, continue with your enthusiasm and try to keep them hooked till the end.

 

26. Be authentic and vulnerable.

When giving a presentation, the worst thing you can do is try to be someone else and come across as pretentious and unoriginal.

In this TED talk, Brene Brown starts by revealing that she felt so vulnerable and embarrassed after one of her talks that she didn’t leave her house for three days.

 

Successful presenters are authentic, even if they are not perfect. They are relatable, grounded and vulnerable. Instead of hiding their failures, imperfections and insecurities, they share them with the audience and build an emotional connection.

When the audience finds you relatable, they are more inclined to listen to you and take you seriously.

 

27. Conclude your presentation on a high.

Just like it’s important to start your presentation with a powerful hook, likewise, you need to conclude your presentation in a way that it impacts your audience and leaves them thinking about your take-home message for a long time after.

There are several ways to close your presentation with style:

  • End with a memorable quote
  • Drive your main points home
  • Close with a story
  • Use a strong call-to-action

Here’s an infographic summarizing the main points above and more.

how to end a presentation visme infographic

Read our guide to learn more about how to close a presentation in a powerful way.

 

28. Leave time for questions at the end.

Our last piece of advice for preparing for and presenting an effective presentation is to get your audience involved and allocate time for their comments and questions at the end of your presentation.

Everyone wants to be heard, and if you did your job correctly, you should have sparked some conversation starters from your audience by the end of your presentation.

Give them your time and attention at the end of your presentation to show them you care about your presentation and most importantly, them.

 

Ready to Make a Powerful Presentation?

Creating an impactful presentation requires careful planning, attention to content details and a good eye for design. But even the best presentations can fail if they’re not rehearsed and delivered properly.

If you’re ready to create an engaging presentation, we recommend using an intuitive presentation software like Visme.

Sure, you can whip up a plain-looking presentation in PowerPoint any day. But if you want your presentation to look creative and different from the rest, you need to use an innovative tool.

With features like data visualization tools, built-in stock images and videos, the ability to add your own fonts and brand colors, and hundreds of presentation templates for you to choose from, once you try it, you’ll likely never go back to anything else.

Not only will you be able to create stunning presentations, but you’ll also be able to share them, embed them and present them right from inside the editor.

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    About the Author

    I’m Heleana and I’m a content creator here at Visme. My passion is to help people find the information they’re looking for in the most fun and enjoyable way possible. Let’s make information beautiful.

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