Setup for Your PowerPoints

The Introduction

First, include a Title Page with your Speech subject and your name

Title Page


Then, have your attention getter slide (this is what you actually start your speech with)

Attention Getter Slide


Then, in an order that makes sense to you, include slides for:

      • the thesis
      • your expertise/involvement with the topic
      • how the topic connects to people's experiences
      • as is needed, briefly define or explain key concepts in your speech
      • optional-a preview of your points





The Body

      • Make slides that cover the items you need to support and address your thesis.
      • Skip slides that are not about your thesis-and instead are just about your topic.
      • Include pictures, videos, etc.
      • Keep bullets short and concise
      • Include interesting supporting material and well documented points.


The Conclusion

      • Include at least one slide.
      • Sum up
      • Explain the usefulness of the material you presented
      • Give closure-often, connecting back to your attention getter.
      • Include a blank slide (to show when you answer questions/finish up)
      • Include a slide with citations at the end (like the title slide, you don't show that during your presentation).




The Look of Your PowerPoint

1. Use a theme with colors and design without being distracting.

Black and White Slide

too many colors

Color Slide

Black and White and similar bland color schemes tend to be boring. They have no zip.


While this may look cool, it is so distracting, you won't notice the bulleted information.

This is about right. It has some color and at the same time, you'll pay attention to the information presented.


Want some cool themes?

      • PowerPoint includes some themes though not many-see Format, Slide Design.
      • Check out the RFS 110 Examples Web Page for links to pages with free PowerPoint Templates.
      • PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 have new templates that look great.
      • Type in PowerPoint Templates into Google.

2. Use large text, colored opposite from the background.

Same Color Text

Contrasting Text

Text over picture

Text that is near the same color as the background is hard to read.

Light text on dark background works well. So does dark text on light background.

Want text over a picture? Test it out. Here you can see mixed results. Consider moving the picture.


3. Bullets should be one line of text--max of two lines.

Otherwise, your audience starts reading and does not pay attention to you.

Too much text

Right amount of text

This PowerPoint slide is for reading-not speaking. It will overload the audience; the audience will read and not pay attention to the speaker speaking. Not good.

This is great. The focus will be on the speaker as the speaker explains the bullets.


4. Bullets should appear one at a time.

Pictures should appear ONE at a time also.

Otherwise, it causes distraction as the audience reads ahead of what the speaker is saying.

Click here for how to make bullets and pictures appear one at a time.

When the bullet appears:

5. You should say exactly what appears on screen.

Not what is going to appear; not things that are not on screen.

After you say what the bullet says, you should explain it. Look at the examples below.

One at at time


One at a time

When this bullet appears, the Speaker would say:

"Keep your bullets short. This keeps the audience from being overwhelmed with information and reading while you speak."

When this bullet appears, the Speaker would say:

"And, this keeps the focus on the speaker. Because the audience is just momentarily looking at a few words, they can concentrate on the speaker."

When this bullet appears, the Speaker would say:

"That happens because the speaker explains the bullets-orally. So, the audience needs to listen to the speaker."

6. Yes--have pictures! Videos are cool too.

Otherwise, the PowerPoint is too texty and gets boring.

Picture on slide 1        Picture on slide 2
Suggestion: Have a picture on almost every slide.

Click here for how to make pictures and bullets appear one at a time.

Have a frame and want your bullets/pictures to appear one at a time? If you select "appear" on the animation schemes and then select apply to all slides, it will mess up the custom animation of the other slides. In order to avoid this problem, you need to inactivate the "appear" on the slide you want to customize. After you do this, you can customize the order of appearance on that specific slide. Make sure not to select "appear" for all slides if you have already done custom animation- it will deactivate it.

Two More Tips--Citing Experts, Inserting Comments

Citing an Expert?

Use a bullet for his/her name and qualifications. Then, the next bullet should state what he/she said.


Citing an Expert


You would say something like "Edward Miller, John Hopkins Medicine Chief Executive Officer, has noted that Stem Cell Research Benefits include . . ." (Typically, you would have bullets for what the benefits are)

Inserting a Comment/Thought

Want to write a comment to yourself or to your professor but don't want viewers to see?

At the top of the PowerPoint Screen, Click Insert, Comment. (the yellow note below).

Inserting Comments