A Quick Guide on Creating a PowerPoint Presentation


In a recent post we demonstrated how information can be filtered to create a great business presentation.


Now we want to give you an easy step-by-step guide to building that presentation’s outline and content.


How would you present if you had only two minutes to do it?


Here’s a good exercise for zeroing in on your key points and the order in which they would ideally be presented: Say aloud how you would present your ideas if you had only two minutes: imagine this as your elevator pitch.


This will be quite helpful because it will force you to develop a logical flow – a beginning, middle and end – that will comprise only the essentials.


For example, let’s say your business is a new Social Media Channel for advertisers. Your elevator pitch might go something like this:


  1. In the past X years, Social Media has grown as a key ingredient of daily life at an amazing speed. Millions of people between the ages of X and Y years-old spend an average of Z hours per day browsing the current social media channels.
  2. We are here today to introduce you to “The Who,” a new and innovative Social Media Channel.
  3. (a)Here’s how it works. (b) We’re different because…. (C) Our Channel is perfect for you because here you can get these benefits associated with your brand.…
  4. Now, what about having those millions of users looking at your brand every day?


These two-minute sets of four sub-themes form the…


Outline of your presentation:

  1. Introduction [setting the tone]
  2. Slogan [your Goal in one compelling sentence followed by an overall explanation on what the presentation is about]
  3. Sub-Headings/ Chapters [why/how –  to promote understanding]
  4. Closing


Only after you’ve experimented with the two-minute overall oral presentation and the development of the specific content flow should you start thinking about the slides you’re going to use. Take the outline you just developed and put it into a new (blank) PowerPoint file.


This is how your slides should look when you see them in Thumbnail mode:



So now that you have set your presentation Outline, you can fill it in.


(The number of slides per section will vary according to your subject; this is just an example)


  • Now create the new slides you need: Determine your main messages for each part of the Outline and convert those into slides.


  • Add existing slides: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel if you can use existing slides to build your new presentation. But add an existing slide ONLY IF IT PERFECTLY FITS your outline. Don’t distort your messages and their natural flow just so you can use slides you already have. If you can’t adapt an existing slide to the message, create a new slide.


  • Act the critic about your slides:
    • Ask yourself how each message is helping to achieve your goal. If you can’t do this easily, it probably means you shouldn’t be using the message or the slide, or both.
    • Jump ahead to the bottom line of each slide. For example, when showing a chart, don’t waste your audience’s time by making them try to understand the chart. Just highlight the conclusion you what them to reach: “growth of 230% in 3 years,” “Affinity grows along with reach,” for example. Write these main conclusions at the tops of the slides. .
    • Use correlation to promote better understanding. When Steve Jobs launched the 5GB iPod in 2001, he said “1,000 songs in your pocket.”
    • Make your presentation about the whole message, not your personal part in an accomplishment or project. Forget the data that only mean you did a good job. Keep in mind what is relevant to your audience. For example, direct technical information to a technically-minded audience and strategic information to a strategy-minded audience.


Yes, it’s cliché, but “Less really is More”.  The audience will not take away every single item of information you present. So if you say less, you increase the chances that they will remember more of what really matters.


While you’re developing your presentation content, keep asking: How does this point help achieve my goal? How this will resonate with my audience?


And remember:



  • A presentation is less about how good you are and more about how your advantages can help your audience.


Good luck!