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How to Give Effective PowerPoint Presentations

Lee Layton, P.E.

Course Outline

The layout of the course begins with a brief overview of PowerPoint and then looks as how text is used in presentations, followed by color, graphics, and animation.  In addition, we will study effective slide layouts, use of audio-visual equipment, and how to make the actual presentation performance more effective.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

After taking this course you should,

Intended Audience

This course is intended for anyone who must use presentations to communicate ideas, concepts, and projects to others.

Benefit to Attendees

By taking the course you will learn how to be more effective when called upon to give a PowerPoint presentation.  The concepts are equally applicable to other presentation mediums, including viewgraphs, and poster charts.

Course Introduction

PowerPoint is a presentation program that is included in Microsoft’s Office suite of programs.  Since its introduction in 1990, PowerPoint has become the most prevalent presentation program on the market.  Today, PowerPoint presentations are used in just about every area of modern society including civic clubs, classrooms, business meetings, weddings, churches, and even funerals. 

PowerPoint has made it easy to put together presentations, but that doesn’t mean the end result is a good presentation.  Anyone who has sat through a 100-slide PowerPoint presentation that featured an endless number of bulleted points or paragraphs along with fancy transitions will understand the downside of PowerPoint. 

The purpose of this course is to provide some guidance on how to use PowerPoint more effectively in presentations.  This is not a “how to” course on how use the features of PowerPoint, although a few specific features are explained, but it is a course on how to use the features of PowerPoint to the best advantage.  This course assumes that the user has a basic mastery of PowerPoint and wants to make better use of the features of the program. 

In this course, we will review a few of the common problems found in many PowerPoint presentations and how to use the rich features of PowerPoint as an aid to making presentations without allowing the features to distract from the presenters story.  The ultimate goal of this course is to help the reader hold the audience’s attention while presenting his story.  The story may be presentation to make a business case to upper management, to venture capitalist, or it may be to describe a particular topic to a civic club.  Whatever the occasion, the presenter is trying to persuade the audience and PowerPoint is a powerful tool to aid in storytelling.

Course Content

This course content is in the following PDF document:

How to Give Effective PowerPoint Presentations

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

In this course, we have reviewed a few of the common problems found in PowerPoint presentations and how to avoid problem presentations.  We also looked at many of the rich features of the PowerPoint program that can be used to aid in making quality presentations.

The suggestions presented in this course are based on years of experience in making PowerPoint presentations.  By using color wisely, developing clean visuals, and using text appropriately a speaker can develop effective – and stunning – presentations.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.