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Using Powerpoint as a presentation tool is a great way to get your point across. Whether you need to address the board or the team your leading, being able to condense your information down to a format that can be understood at a glance can get everyone on the same page in a hurry. Here are three tips for making sure you get the most out of your presentations.

The first key is consistency. Use the same font and color scheme for every slide in your presentation. Switching it up gets distracting and confusing. Keeping a cohesive theme will look more professional and make people more inclined to agree with the information you present. This is especially pertinent if you are trying to get a team on the same page with their leader or getting a group of people higher on the chain to make a decision your way.

The next thing to keep in mind is contrast. Using colors that are too similar will make your presentation difficult to view even if the colors go well together. The ideal contrast is black text on a white background. Unfortunately, this is also the most boring and least likely to catch anyone’s eye; we’re used to reading black text on a white background. Using color for contrast will usually require you to go with more muted colors that will not distract from your presentation. With the exception of whites and greys you should never use a bright color for a background. Presentations with sparse text may benefit from light text on a dark background.

The last thing to remember is that your slides are intended as a complement to your presentation. Avoid using full sentences. Avoid using complex concepts. You are the one giving the presentation. Your audience should not be expected to take notes. While many are used to verbose presentations from the academic world these are not viable in the business world. Make sure your slides don’t detract from what you intend to say; make sure they don’t prevent you from taking center stage.

Giving a good presentation is usually more important than making one. For those that already know how to give a great presentation, the key is in getting the details right. Tips like these can help. So can resources like eSlide.com, a service geared around putting together professional-quality Powerpoint presentations. Don’t be afraid to go with the professionals if you really need to get your point across. Sometimes a solid presentation is what you need to give you the edge in persuasion and understanding.

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