From business pitches to board meetings, there are many reasons to put together a PowerPoint presentation. Regardless of the purpose of the PowerPoint presentation, there are some basics guidelines you should follow to make sure you get your point across correctly, clearly and professionally.

Analyze your Audience
First, much like any other public presentation, you need to consider your audience. Why are they here? What do they want to hear? What are they interested in? What do you hope they get from this presentation? What are your immediate short-term goals that you hope this presentation will accomplish? What are your long-term goals that you hope this presentation will accomplish? You need to figure out the answers to these questions, because if you don’t know the answers you cannot properly guide the audience towards your goals.

Write an outline of your presentation
Next you need to write an outline of your How to construct great arguments presentation and what your talking points will be. At this point, forget about the actual PowerPoint and just focus on what information you want to convey to the audience. Pretend that you will not even have a PowerPoint. What will you say? Break it down to an introduction, body and conclusion. Make sure this outline hits every question and goal stated above when you analyzed your audience.

Use your outline to give your speech
Now that you have an outlined version of your presentation, start practicing your presentation. There is still no PowerPoint involved. Just focus on what you will be saying, what the audience will be hearing, and the key points you need to get across. Take this time to go back and edit the structure, flow and order of your presentation until you are comfortable with it, it meets your time requirements and it moves the audience on a logical flow towards your goals for the presentation. Note: It’s always better to present the facts and assumptions and allow the audience to make the connection in their head, as opposed to you directly telling them what they should get from this presentation. Also take this time to remove any “clutter” that does not directly or indirectly lead to your goals.


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