PowerPoint Presentation

Use the following guidelines to prepare your PowerPoint presentation.


  • A picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Make sure that lettering is large enough to read at a distance. 
  • Make sure pictures, graphs, and tables are large enough to view in detail.
  • Keep each slide as simple as possible to get your point across.
  • Use high contrast text and illustrations.
  • Don’t get carried away with designs and animation – they can be very distracting.
  • Keep the backgrounds plain or very simple so that the audience will be able to focus on your message. Dark text against a light background is the easiest to read.


  • In planning your presentation, be sure to "tell the audience what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them."
  • Use a Sample PowerPoint Presentation to help you organize your presentation.


  • Go from broad to narrow as you introduce the research.
  • Do not use jargon, and when you do need to use specialized terminology, define the words for the audience.
  • Keep text to a minimum.
  • Spell check all text.
  • Provide illustrations and examples to help the audience understand the information.

Graphs and Tables

  • Label items and the overall content of a graph or table.
  • Indicate sample size and standard error bars.
  • Make sure all text is large enough and contrasts enough to read well.
  • Don’t use 3-D graphs unless they are necessary to provide information.
  • Be careful about color choices, as many people are colorblind. It is preferable to use contrasting shades or textures in graphing data.

Practice makes perfect

  • Time the length of your talk and make sure you leave enough time for questions at the end.
  • Practice your talk for your mentor or another experienced person, leaving enough time to make changes or refine the presentation.
  • Practice using eye contact with your audience and projecting your voice towards the back of the audience.
  • Avoid looking at your slides and notes too much by practicing.
  • Practice your presentation on a different computer to make sure it will display the correct images and fonts. If you prepared your presentation on a Mac computer, practice it on a PC.