A Guide For Non-Designers: How To Make A Great Presentation

This article is made for managers, speakers, teachers, and everyone who wants to be understood and heard. You'll learn how to choose presentation software, what to begin with, how to avoid common mistakes and end up designing a beautiful presentation even if this is your first time doing it.
A good presentation helps you understand the speaker's message and a bad one just makes you bored. If you've ever witnessed an oral presentation at university or listened to fellow colleagues presenting in a business meeting, you probably know what it can be like. Unfortunately, there are more poorly designed presentations out there than well-executed ones.

It's easy to recognize a good presentation: It helps you capture and hold the audience's attention. An ineffective presentation, on the other hand, is one, where everything is lumped together: Your eyes are running through text-heavy or cluttered-looking slides, your brain's trying to comprehend the meaning, and the speaker is muttering their stuff somewhere in the background.

In order to create a good presentation, you don't need to be able to draw well or know how to use Photoshop, or spend hours designing slides. A good presentation is one containing valid information that is structured like a story so it's easy to digest. This works for both slide decks that are made to be used in oral presentations and ones that are meant to be published online.

14 Tips To Create a Presentation That Will Be Remembered

Making a killer presentation starts with asking yourself a bunch of questions. You can do the most crucial part using just a piece of paper—you don't even need to fire up your laptop. At first, you choose the topic, define the goal, and build its outline so talking points go in the right order—and that's when you can start looking for proper images to use in the presentation, as well as opt for preferable software.
It's considered a mistake to start off by looking for imagery. That's how bad presentations with non-existent structure and poorly set goals are usually created.

If you don't have enough time to prepare, just skip the step of looking for images altogether. Minimalist slides with black text on a plain white background look stylish, andif informativehelp communicate your message as effectively as ones containing images.

1. Come Up With a Presentation Topic

Listening to the speaker who "jumps" from one point to another is difficult, so the presentation should be focused on one main thing—otherwise, you will be talking about everything and nothing at the same time. The topic should be narrow enough so that you can provide a solution for the problem at the conclusion of the speech. Narrow down the chosen topic till you have a speech outline with 10 brief talking points.

Identifying a good topic is easy—it suggests the structure of the speech by itself.
Broad topic, messy structure

Public speeches
What is public speaking
Why public speaking is important
How to prepare for a public-speaking event
How to speak and present to an audience successfully
Narrow topic, the story unfolds

How to cope with the fear of speaking in public
Why we are afraid of speaking in public
How to overcome your fears
What to do if it's your first public speech

2. Define the Goal of Yout Presentation

A good presentation changes how people see the world. For example, they start to become environmentally conscious or rush to buy a new smartphone that your company produces. The main goal doesn't have to be too much ambitious, the key thing here is that it should be specific enough.

Defining clear presentation objectives starts with asking yourself, What do I want to change in the audience's behavior?
Abstract goals

To deliver a good speech
To show that the product is good
To sell the product
Specific goals

To convince people that the new model charges 20% faster than other phones on the market so it's worth buying
To convince the investors that sales are dropping but that's normal for this season
To convince pet owners to have their pets vaccinated annually
The first step in preparation is to think of your topic in terms of discrete, digestible ideas that you can deliver without overwhelming your audience. Each idea is a separate slide. So, slide number 1 is idea number 1, slide number 2 is idea 2, etc.

Storyboard your idea where each "frame" of your "movie" is a new "scene." This will help you organize your ideas visually rather than thinking you’re writing a book.

PowerPoint and Keynote are the "power points," or "keynotes," not the entire novel or textbook. If you hit your audience over the head with a glorified Word document, you will not win them over.

Simon Wijers
Freelance Web Designer at swdesigns
Make sure to set a clear presentation goal. What do you want to achieve with your presentation? Do you know a lot about the subject? If not, make sure you're comfortable enough with answering questions about it. It’s important that you know a lot about the topic that you’re going to be talking about.

3. Think About the Script

The purpose of the presentation is what you want to change in the audience's thinking, and your script is a step-by-step plan on how you can achieve these changes.

Imagine that you are writing a story. You need to intrigue the audience with the powerful opening, create interesting characters, and guide them through all the plot twists—talking points—to a meaningful conclusion.

Stephanie Melodia
Public Speaker, Bloom CEO
Successful and effective oral presentations are all about storytelling. One has to include an intriguing start, a punchline, a twist, a development, and then a conclusion. Take your audience on an entertaining journey.

If there's a relatable anecdote shared, this is more memorable. And don't forget about emotions—make people laugh, curious, or sad. Emotions move people.
Below is the basic structure of any kind of text—fairy tales, movie scripts, crime novels, product advertising, etc. All of them are based on the same or similar structure:
Clue the audience in. From the very first slide, the listener should clearly understand what exactly they are to gain or learn in the next minutes. Avoid going overboard with creativity here and put directly on the cover or the first slide what the audience should expect in terms of value and insights.

How to use your salary efficiently so that you can afford everything

Intrigue. Secure a high level of attention after introducing yourself and stating the topic with the bold and intriguing second slide. You can either give a benefit statement or trigger their curiosity by building suspense.

Benefit: You'll learn how to set aside 20% from each paycheck and stop denying yourself nice things

Intrigue: 9 out of 10 people don't know what they spend 20% of their monthly income on
Positive arguments. This is the main focus of the presentation—an idea or a conceptsomething you want to teach people about and that you can back up with evidence and examples.
Counterarguments. Be raw and honest about pitfalls that can get in the way of success. This builds credibility and helps to warn people of risks and problems they may face on their journey.
Saving money is difficult as there are lots of temptations around. If you've slipped up with budgeting, don't worry—just keep trying to build good money habits.

Simon Wijers
Freelance Web Designer at swdesigns
It’s also good to think about how you can keep your audience’s attention. People are easily distracted, so how do you keep them focused? This can be done, for example, by asking a question now and then, by telling a joke in between, by using nice visuals, etc.
Conclusion. Probably the worst way to end any presentation is by saying something like, "That's all I have for today." Give a brief summary by recapping the talking points to wrap up your speech. Once you've delivered the presentation, the audience should understand what they need to do right now in order to follow your recommendations or implement concepts that you've shared in their lives.

So now you know the 3 laws of smart money management. Try to remember and use them every time you visit any store.

To prepare a presentation script, you can use mind mapping. There are lots of tools and software to create a mind map, such as Xmind, Coggle, and Miro.

Mind maps help you visualize all your ideas and highlight connections between them. This is how you can look at your presentation as a whole, understand where you have a lack of supporting arguments, and where you get carried away by secondary ideas. This step will make creating the slide deck much easier.

4. Share Business Cases

Share real-life user or customer experiences instead of focusing on a theory-driven narrative. Demonstrate how your product works and how people use it. Check out how they do it on Kickstarter.

Real people's stories, screenshots of the interactive user interfaces, and high-quality product photos are much more digestible than boring text-heavy slides and way more convincing than watermarked images from stock photography libraries.

5. Avoid Monotonous Slides

A presentation is similar to a text. Varying sentence lengths can help readers focus better on reading because it adds rhythm so they don't get bored. Alternate text and image slides and don't be afraid to use charts. Appropriate jokes are welcomed as well.
A lot of presenters are fearful that if all their ideas are not placed as text on the screen, the audience won't retain what they are talking about. Nothing could be further from the truth! Did you know the human brain processes images 60 000 times quicker than text?

So don't be afraid to put big, even HUGE bold imagery on the screen, and think outside the box doing so. Your minimal text could sit upon a semi-transparent colored box you create in your presentation software so that it pops and is easily read and doesn't compete with the image.

Stephanie Melodia
Public Speaker, Bloom CEO
Have your slides serve as a visual aid. This cannot be stressed enough. They should be the background to you and your story, to illustrate certain points, but they are not the focus; you are.

6. Provide Your Audience With an Action Plan

Ending your speech with a phrase like, "That's it. Any questions?" is not only anti-climatic, it is a clear sign of a weak presentation. This way, you're leaving your audience to be alone with their thoughts.

An effective presentation offers a step-by-step action plan, so people know exactly what you want them to do next. This doesn't have to be a specific call to action. You can also close by going over the key takeaways that briefly summarize what you've told them, or share sources where the additional information on the topic can be found.

Conclude your presentation by giving an action plan or a brief summary of your speech.

7. Use Fewer Colors

The presentation should include 1-2 main colors that are used for the background, text, and icons. Stick with the chosen hues and their lighter or darker versions for additional color options, and avoid using more colors unless you absolutely have to.

Choosing the right color scheme by yourself can be difficult enough, especially if you are not a professional designer. If you're making a business presentation, use brand colors.

If you don't have corporate colors, use tools that can create matching color combinations for you like color palette generators. There you can browse pre-made color palettes or generate unique ones right on the spot.
Complimentary color combinations at flatuicolors.com

8. Use More Contrast

White color on the light blue background may look good on your Mac's Retina display. But if the presentation is meant to be projected, such text won't be easily readable, so make sure to use contrasting colors instead. Black and white create the highest contrast possible.

You can check whether the text in your slides has sufficient contrast against its background with color contrast checkers. Such tools can test the contrast ratio of your background and text for accessibility.

By the way, white contrasts with red more than black

Your color palette should be constrained to the exact colors of your brand identity. That is, if your brand colors are blue and orange, don't guess on a color that looks more or less the same. Use the precise RGB values or your presentation won't look like it represents you.

Viewers not especially sensitive to colors might not get it right away, but If you were to show them a similar presentation with exact colors they are going to like that one more without necessarily knowing why. Ideally, you should set your Color Theme to the precise RGB values, but you can also use the eyedropper tool in your color palette to sample the exact colors of your brand.

9. Use Fewer Fonts

As a general rule, one font is quite enough to design a presentation. Choose a modern sans serif typeface like PT Sans, Open Sans, Tilda Sans, or Roboto (these fonts can be used for free). They are considered some of the most legible and easy-to-read fonts you can find.

You can check whether the typeface of your choice is readable and accessible enough by stepping away from the screen and trying to read headings. If it's easy to read—you've made the right choice. You can create accents in the text on the slides by changing text styles like font weight.

10. Use Rule Of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a composition guideline that helps arrange objects in a way that the key elements stand out. Divide the slide into thirds, using two horizontal and two vertical lines, and then place the key objects at the points of intersections. Important objects for presentation slides are usually headings and illustrations.

11. Use Short Texts

Include only one idea per slide. Such a slide is easy to read, understand and remember. If you're speaking in public, it will help keep the audience's attention.

How much text should be on the slides? It depends on many things, for one—the audience's size. If you're going to talk in front of 10 people sitting сlose to the screen, a single paragraph of text on each slide is comfortable enough for the audience to read. If you are presenting in front of a hundred people, reading more than 10 words can be quite challenging, especially for those sitting far away from the screen.

For a large audience, reading more than 10 words on a slide can be difficult

Your ideas are a lot of words in your head that should remain in your head! No one wants to be read off of a screen. Your passion for your ideas should be communicated mostly verbally, with minimal text on your slides.

If you want to have a guide to what you’re saying for each slide, you can put those in the Presenter Notes. Even then, know your stuff and make eye contact and be relatable and human. Though not as poor as reading off the screen, mechanically reading from a script with your eyes cast down on a page at a lectern is still not all that engaging. The Presenter Notes should be used more as a reference to keep your place.

Stephanie Melodia
Public Speaker, Bloom CEO
Preparation is key. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail, as they say. Even if you don't remember everything, feeling prepared gives you the confidence to get up on stage or go online to present to your audience.

That being said, don't worry if you go off-track or forget something. It's important to improvise and go with the flow; preparation is to give you a foundation to help you feel more confident when the nerves rise!

Also, wear something that makes you feel great! It doesn't even have to be visible—it could even be perfume, for example. But something that makes you feel like the most confident version of yourself!

12. Estimate How Many Slides To Include In the Presentation

There is no universal law when it comes to the number of slides, but it is common practice to use 1 slide per minute. So if you have 30 minutes to speak, the deck will consist of 30 slides.

Simon Wijers
Freelance Web Designer at swdesigns
Turn your entire presentation into a bunch of keywords that are sprinkled on every single slide. This way you increase chances of not forgetting important stuff during the actual speech.

Most people get at least slightly nervous when they speak in public so it would be nice to have something that can help you in case you stumble over your words and be in desperate need of fast recovery. And if you have main topical keywords right on your slides, you won’t even need a cheat sheet!

13. Use Good Visuals

Compelling high-quality images along with relevant graphs, statics, and diagrams can help you communicate your ideas more effectively as well as significantly increase engagement levels.

Remember that visual aids are there so the audience can better understand the topic, meaning they are a supplement to—not a replacement for—your presentation.

If you've come across a photo or an illustration that's beautiful yet unrelated to what you'll be talking about, don't add it to your slides.
What if some of your ideas are rather abstract and don't immediately lend themselves to an image? Then you find an image with an abstract connection to use on your slide. And don't rack your brains to figure that out. Do a Google Image search.

Here's a real-world example of a presentation I prepared for a client. The title of one of their slides was "pattern recognition in pharmacokinetic data analysis." A concept that needed to be explained in layman's terms. You want to entertain your audience and keep them engaged with an image that is not arcane line charts with tiny numbers that no one can read. I found an image of identical twin red-haired freckled boys pointing at each other and laughing. I placed only that image and the title on the screen. This was an excellent solution for explaining an#mnbsp;abstract concept in an entertaining way. The audience was more receptive to hearing a list of extensive metrics because they were visually entertained.

The speaker let the audience know that these metrics would be provided in print at the end. When the audience hears the presenter’s passion for their topic and is entertained by an image, they are going to be engaged. Again, huge volumes of text and boring graphs will put your audience to sleep.

14. Go For a Сonsistent Look

Make all the elements in the presentation match as well as make sure that each slide is based on the same layout grid. Arranging and aligning objects on slides so that they are organized in a unified manner will make it much easier for the audience to keep up with what you're saying.

To achieve this, use several ready-made templates or create custom layouts for every slide type—a text-based, an image-based, and a chart one, for example. Then you can easily edit and modify them to suit your needs.

Not only are presentations with a unified look come across as more professional, it greatly benefits the audience's understanding to find the title, visual content, and other elements on slides in the same place every time you press the button on the presentation clicker.
Your titles should be in exact registration from slide to slide. Set exact coordinates in your slide master and then don't move the position of your titles up or down or to the left or right to accommodate content. Instead, reign in your content so that it fits in service to the titles.

It might look ok when you are concentrating on one slide. But when you watch the show, if the titles are moving around from slide to slide, your presentation will look disjointed and unprofessional. Your key messaging might get diluted by distractions.

Also, pay attention to gutters—the space at the top and the bottom and the left and right of each slide. Maintain an even amount of white space on all four sides for a uniform look. Draw out guides so that you maintain, for example, 0.5" clear at the top, bottom, left and right, so that all content fits into this space and doesn't peak out beyond these borders.

Simon Wijers
Freelance Web Designer at swdesigns
When you’re done with the script and you have some ideas for visuals to accompany your story with, it’s also important to think about a general look of the presentation. Today’s presentation software allows us to create much more appealing and impressive layouts than those old-fashion looking ones that often come to mind when someone says the word "Presentation."

Make it more professional-looking by spending time on creating a sort of base template that you can easily edit so your final slide deck has that unified and polished look. And don’t be afraid to play around with your design—use different colors, experiment with non-standard fonts, try creative templates, add informative charts and grapes, etc.
Putting together an actual slide deck is one of the last steps of creating a presentation. And if the last time you used PowerPoint was in your final year of college, don't worry. By following our tips, you'll be able to organize and structure your thoughts and ideas effectively, so all that's left to do is to design them well.

Best Tools For Creating Effective Presentations

There is a huge variety of presentation software out there. None of them are perfect though, so try a couple and stick to those you like best. Each of these tools has particular features, meaning it could better fit a specific task or situation than others.

Microsoft PowerPoint

PowerPoint is one of the oldest presentation tools that remains to be a favorite of many. The Google alternative to PowerPoint is Google Slides. It has very similar functionality to PowerPoint while it's a cloud-based platform and it works online.

Pros. PowerPoint has a very user-friendly interface that's familiar to most of us. Besides its versatility, presenters choose PowerPoint for its compatibility: It works with both Windows and Mac OS, and you can also upload your presentation on Google Drive to access it online from any device.

Furthermore, PowerPoint provides a variety of templates to choose from as well as design themes that can be easily applied to the entire presentation at any time. You can also export your presentation as a PDF file.

Cons. PowerPoint offers many tools that are rarely used by anyone, and at the same time, it can be quite difficult to find the feature you actually need. Besides, some people may perceive PowerPoint templates and themes as outdated because it's been around for so many years.

Stephanie Melodia
Public Speaker, Bloom CEO
I love Google Slides, my team uses Canva or professional design software. The more important piece over the tools is the artist themselves ;) If the presenter lacks design skills, then hire a professional!


The Apple version of PowerPoint is called Keynote.

Pros. Keynote's interface has a modern look, and its toolbar feels less busy and less cluttered than PowerPoint's since it offers only necessary editing tools that you'll definitely be using when creating your slide deck. Unlike PowerPoint, you'll never get lost in Keynote.

Keynote also allows exporting your presentation in both PPT and PPTX formats so you can edit them later in PowerPoint if needed. However, sometimes the formatting can be a little off so better double-check whether the fonts, visuals, and overall layout are displayed correctly.

Cons. Keynote is only available for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and online. Freshly former or current PC users can really struggle with it at first.
Apple Keynote is favored by graphic designers only because it is a Mac-only software and a majority of graphic designers for print and web use Macs. PowerPoint, especially in the days before the bar was raised for presentation design, was thought of as barely a cut above word processing and the province of admins, not designers. But I have seen dreadful presentations created in Apple Keynote and stunning presentations created in PowerPoint. So it's not really about the software you use, it's how you use it.

Graphic Design Software

Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign

Pros. The only limits here are your graphic design skills and your creativity.

Cons. Using any of these software requires training. Unlike PowerPoint or Keynote, you won't be able to design something even close to professional-looking, using Photoshop for the first time. If you don't have time to figure it out by yourself, you'll need a professional designer.

Praise Sunday
Public Speaker, Digital Marketer at Kiru
There are several scenarios—besides quite obvious ones like lack of design expertise and limited time on hands—where one may need to hire a professional presentation designer instead of making a slide deck on their own.

1. High-stakes presentation: If you are delivering a presentation for an important business meeting, high-profile conference, or fundraising startup pitch on which your business's survival depends, it is essential to make a great impression. A professional presentation designer can help you create a visually stunning and polished presentation that will help you stand out.

2. Large-scale presentation: If you are creating a data-heavy presentation for a large audience, such as a webinar or a conference, it is important to have a presentation that is engaging and easy to follow. Making difficult things look simple is something that professional designers can help you with so that your slide deck is both visually appealing and easy to understand.

The great thing about a TRULY professional presentation designer is that they will be not only creative but also technically skilled. They can create for you an easily repurposable template where you need not reinvent the wheel to get creative formats working for you. Where all you need to do is plug in your content into text placeholders or click on an image placeholder to swap out new desired images relevant to different presentations.


A website builder that allows you to convert web pages into slides and export them to PDF files.

Pros. No designer's help is needed whatsoever. Tilda was specifically designed to present information in a way that is easy to understand and allows you to deliver your storytelling in a compelling manner. All the templates and pre-designed blocks are made by professional and experienced designers, so even beginners can create beautiful and effective presentations.

If you aren't a designer, creating a visually compelling presentation in PowerPoint and Keynote may be challenging. You'll have to figure out complementary color combinations, choose the right fonts, add text and visuals on slides, and make sure it doesn't look wordy or cluttered, and you'll have to do it all by yourself.

All this work takes time and requires special knowledge in several areas related to graphic design. Building a slide deck with Tilda, you can work on the key message you want your audience to understand and remember instead of worrying whether you'll end up with an unappealing presentation. Because you won't.

A poorly designed presentation can ruin the whole speech because you'll be thinking about how bad it looks instead of connecting with the audience. Since Tilda's primary advantages are the ease of use and the focus on aesthetics, creating slides with Tilda will be easy and will result in a dazzling presentation.

How To Create a Presentation On Tilda

To turn any Tilda's website page into a presentation—that is, to break it into sections that function like slides so that you can navigate between them, using your keyboard—choose the T203 "Convert the page into a Presentation" block from the "Other" category in the Block Library.

After that, all blocks on the page become separate slides. You can always modify each slide and change their order. The T203 block can be added to any place on the page.

Your presentation will be available at the URL address that you've specified in Site Settings. You can send the link to your colleagues or clients.

It's also useful when you need to open your own slides on another device—you always have the presentation with you. If you need, you can save it as a PDF file to print out or show it you're offline.

Why Learn Presentation Skills

It's a misconception to think that public speaking and presentation skills are only needed for managers who deliver business presentations on a regular basis.

Those are valuable skills that can help one sell, convince, and teach. By using them, startup entrepreneurs attract potential investors, casting agents can pitch their clients, and babysitters make self-introduction.

A good speech makes people come up and give you positive feedback and a good presentation makes them ask you to share the slides.
Acting agent courses train agents on how to create effective presentations for their clients. While an actor rehearses lines and adopts accents, their agent is busy arranging meetings and securing additions with film producers and casting directors. In this case, one poor presentation can cost them a job opportunity, and a really good one can be worth the whole career or even an Oscar in the future. And this is another reason to consider this whole presentation thing seriously.
Below are some cases when the ability to create presentations comes in especially useful:


You can attach a presentation to a business introduction letter. It is an excellent way for your prospective clients to get to know you, and obtain a basic understanding of the business, and what it can do for them at their own convenience.

The presentation complements what you're talking about in the letter. It also gives the recipient detailed information in one place in a handy setup of a slide deck so they don't need to go anywhere and spend time on making research about you on their own.


The slideshow format works well for instructing. The main rule for putting together such presentations is the same—one slide is one action. Teaching presentations are used by university staff to prepare lectures and senior employees to help newcomers learn the ropes in the company.

Speaking In Public

Presentations help speakers and managers involved in business negotiations hold attention and break down complex things. It's easier for the audience to digest technical information like statistics as visual charts and graphs than to perceive it without any visual aids.

Promoting Websites And Brands

You can add presentations that feature case studies, showcasing how your product or service can best be used, along with your client's feedback right to your website. Content in a presentation gets indexed by search engines, helping the site rank higher on search results. That's how a presentation can help you drive more traffic to your website.

You can also upload brand presentations on document-sharing platforms like Slideshare. Then it can be downloaded by people that are interested in your industry, and if it's convincing enough, it can spark interest in learning more about you. That's how a presentation can help you get discovered by new audiences and win over prospective clients.

Bonus. Don'ts & Dos For a Great Presentation

There is no single correct way to create a presentation. However, there are common mistakes to avoid and some basic rules to follow that can benefit any presentation.

Stephanie Melodia
Public Speaker, Bloom CEO
1. Don't go into selling yourself only talking about me me me.

2. Remember that monotonous voice and unengaging presentation style send the crowd to sleep.

3. Learn to get to the point quickly enough. People have short attention spans these days!

1. Don't put most of your text on the screen. Leave that for the Presenter Notes and the Leave-Behind Deck.

2. If you are going to use images (and you should), don't use poor-quality images or images that fall apart when enlarged. Make sure they are large and high-resolution. Unsplash is one great resource for no-cost, royalty-free, high-resolution images. Of course, if you or your company has access to a paid subscription image bank like Getty Images, use that. If you must use Google Images, be sure to filter for "large" images. And even then, make sure they look high resolution.

3. Don't be afraid of using more slides. More is less. By that I mean a presentation of 10 impossibly dense slides actually reads as LONGER than a presentation of 15 slides where some of your more information-packed slides are expanded to two slides. If you spend twice as long on one dense slide than you would on two slides where the content is divided, you will actually hold your audience’s attention longer. If I see a slide with too much on it, it gives me a headache, and my attention wanders.

Praise Sunday
Public Speaker, Digital Marketer at Kiru
1. Start your speech with a thought-provoking question: This should be something that relates to your topic. This can grab the audience's attention right away and get them interested in what you have to say. For a social media presentation, you could come up with something like this: More than 200 million businesses have a presence on Facebook, and over 10 million active advertisers use Facebook to promote their products and services.

2. Make use of images rather than text: Instead of filling your slide deck with bullet points and text, try using images and visual aids to convey your message.

3. You could incorporate interactive elements: Instead of boringly talking to your audience, try incorporating interactive elements into your presentation. For example, you could ask the audience to participate in a quick poll or quiz related to your topic, or you could have them work in pairs or small groups to discuss a question or prompt.

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