Sticky PowerPoint Presentations


Before taking public relations courses at the University of Oregon, I didn’t give too much thought to PowerPoint presentations. I blew them off as simple slideshows, with boring backgrounds and too much text. However, I recently started to see PowerPoint presentations that are catchy, clever and

informative. In the words of Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the NY Times Bestseller, Made to Stick, I was starting to see sticky PowerPoint presentations.

This week I will be presenting a PowerPoint presentation of my own to my advanced PR writing class, taught by Kelli Matthews. For my presentation, I am trying to combine the tools that I’m reading about in Made to Stick and the great tips that I came across from a Slide:ology blog post titled, “Lessons from TED: Five simple Tweaks.”

The Slide:ology post lists 5 simple ways to improve a PowerPoint presentation:


1. Use a custom background

2. Choose your fonts wisely

3. Use animations and transitions appropriately

4. One idea per slide

5. Take care of your images

If I had more time to create my PowerPoint presentation, I would seriously consider buying the book, Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations.

In the meantime, as I prepare for my presentation, here is a list of tips that I find particularly helpful when creating a PowerPoint.

  1. Write a killer outline: Because no one wants to read a page of text on a slide, it’s important that your ideas are organized clearly and concisely. This will also help when it’s time to give the presentation—you already have your talking points!
  2. Choose pictures that enhance the text: I think a good photo can make or break a slide.
  3. Select text color wisely. It’s important that your words can be easily read on a slide. I have found that my eyes struggle to read a slide with a dark background and light text.
  4. Be sticky! Read Made to Stick and use its ideas to enhance your PowerPoint.
  5. Have fun! The PowerPoint presentations that I find the most engaging are led by someone who loves to share their content. The topic may be a snore, but your PowerPoint presentation doesn’t have to be.

I hope this post helps you out the next time you create a PowerPoint Presentation. Do you have tips that are not found on the lists above? What’s an example of a fantastic PowerPoint presentation you have seen recently?


1 Comment

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One response to “Sticky PowerPoint Presentations

  1. Good for you catching on to this early.

    What’s crazy is that even though this information is out there, people continue to produce crappy presentations.

    My goal? As few words as possible. Let the picture support the story you’re telling.

    Chip and Dan’s (Made To Stick) blog is great… and they also write for FastCompany magazine on a regular basis.

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