How To Write A Presentation 101: A Step-by-Step Guide with Best Examples

How To Write A Presentation 101: A Step-by-Step Guide with Best Examples

Jane Ng • 02 Nov 2023 • 8 min read

Is it difficult to start of presentation? You’re standing before a room full of eager listeners, ready to share your knowledge and captivate their attention. But where do you begin? How do you structure your ideas and convey them effectively?

Take a deep breath, and fear not! In this article, we’ll provide a road map on how to write a presentation covering everything from crafting a script to creating an engaging introduction.

So, let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What is a presentation , what should be in a powerful presentation.

  • How To Write A Presentation Script
  • How to Write A Presentation Introduction 

Key Takeaways

Tips for better presentation.

  • How to start a presentation
  • How to introduce yourself

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Presentations are all about connecting with your audience. 

Presenting is a fantastic way to share information, ideas, or arguments with your audience. Think of it as a structured approach to effectively convey your message. And you’ve got options such as slideshows, speeches, demos, videos, and even multimedia presentations!

The purpose of a presentation can vary depending on the situation and what the presenter wants to achieve. 

  • In the business world, presentations are commonly used to pitch proposals, share reports, or make sales pitches. 
  • In educational settings, presentations are a go-to for teaching or delivering engaging lectures. 
  • For conferences, seminars, and public events—presentations are perfect for dishing out information, inspiring folks, or even persuading the audience.

That sounds brilliant. But, how to write a presentation?

How To Write A Presentation

How To Write A Presentation? What should be in a powerful presentation? A great presentation encompasses several key elements to captivate your audience and effectively convey your message. Here’s what you should consider including in a winning presentation:

  • Clear and Engaging Introduction: Start your presentation with a bang! Hook your audience’s attention right from the beginning by using a captivating story, a surprising fact, a thought-provoking question, or a powerful quote. Clearly state the purpose of your presentation and establish a connection with your listeners.
  • Well-Structured Content: Organize your content logically and coherently. Divide your presentation into sections or main points and provide smooth transitions between them. Each section should flow seamlessly into the next, creating a cohesive narrative. Use clear headings and subheadings to guide your audience through the presentation.
  • Compelling Visuals: Incorporate visual aids, such as images, graphs, or videos, to enhance your presentation. Make sure your visuals are visually appealing, relevant, and easy to understand. Use a clean and uncluttered design with legible fonts and appropriate color schemes. 
  • Engaging Delivery: Pay attention to your delivery style and body language. You should maintain eye contact with your audience, use gestures to emphasize key points, and vary your tone of voice to keep the presentation dynamic. 
  • Clear and Memorable Conclusion: Leave your audience with a lasting impression by providing a strong closing statement, a call to action, or a thought-provoking question. Make sure your conclusion ties back to your introduction and reinforces the core message of your presentation.

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How To Write A Presentation Script (With Examples)

To successfully convey your message to your audience, you must carefully craft and organize your presentation script. Here are steps on how to write a presentation script: 

1/ Understand Your Purpose and Audience:

  • Clarify the purpose of your presentation. Are you informing, persuading, or entertaining?
  • Identify your target audience and their knowledge level, interests, and expectations.
  • Define what presentation format you want to use

2/ Outline the Structure of Your Presentation:

Strong opening: .

Start with an engaging opening that grabs the audience’s attention and introduces your topic. Some types of openings you can use are: 

  • Start with a Thought-Provoking Question: “Have you ever…?”
  • Begin with a Surprising Fact or Statistic: “Did you know that….?”
  • Use a Powerful Quote: “As Maya Angelou once said,….”
  • Tell a Compelling Story : “Picture this: You’re standing at….”
  • Start with a Bold Statement: “In the fast-paced digital age….”

Main Points: 

Clearly state your main points or key ideas that you will discuss throughout the presentation.

  • Clearly State the Purpose and Main Points: Example: “In this presentation, we will delve into three key areas. First,… Next,… Finally,…. we’ll discuss….”
  • Provide Background and Context: Example: “Before we dive into the details, let’s understand the basics of…..”
  • Present Supporting Information and Examples: Example: “To illustrate…., let’s look at an example. In,…..”
  • Address Counterarguments or Potential Concerns: Example: “While…, we must also consider… .”
  • Recap Key Points and Transition to the Next Section: Example: “To summarize, we’ve… Now, let’s shift our focus to…”

Remember to organize your content logically and coherently, ensuring smooth transitions between sections.

Ending: 

You can conclude with a strong closing statement summarizing your main points and leaving a lasting impression. Example: “As we conclude our presentation, it’s clear that… By…., we can….”

3/ Craft Clear and Concise Sentences:

Once you’ve outlined your presentation, you need to edit your sentences. Use clear and straightforward language to ensure your message is easily understood.

Alternatively, you can break down complex ideas into simpler concepts and provide clear explanations or examples to aid comprehension.

4/ Use Visual Aids and Supporting Materials:

Use supporting materials such as statistics, research findings, or real-life examples to back up your points and make them more compelling. 

  • Example: “As you can see from this graph,… This demonstrates….”

5/ Include Engagement Techniques:

Incorporate interactive elements to engage your audience, such as Q&A sessions , conducting live polls , or encouraging participation.

6/ Rehearse and Revise:

  • Practice delivering your presentation script to familiarize yourself with the content and improve your delivery.
  • Revise and edit your script as needed, removing any unnecessary information or repetitions.

7/ Seek Feedback:

You can share your script or deliver a practice presentation to a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor to gather feedback on your script and make adjustments accordingly.

More on Script Presentation

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How to Write A Presentation Introduction with Examples

How to write presentations that are engaging and visually appealing? Looking for introduction ideas for the presentation? As mentioned earlier, once you have completed your script, it’s crucial to focus on editing and refining the most critical element—the opening of your presentation – the section that determines whether you can captivate and retain your audience’s attention right from the start. 

Here is a guide on how to craft an opening that grabs your audience’s attention from the very first minute: 

1/ Start with a Hook

To begin, you can choose from five different openings mentioned in the script based on your desired purpose and content. Alternatively, you can opt for the approach that resonates with you the most, and instills your confidence. Remember, the key is to choose a starting point that aligns with your objectives and allows you to deliver your message effectively.

2/ Establish Relevance and Context:

Then you should establish the topic of your presentation and explain why it is important or relevant to your audience. Connect the topic to their interests, challenges, or aspirations to create a sense of relevance.

3/ State the Purpose

Clearly articulate the purpose or goal of your presentation. Let the audience know what they can expect to gain or achieve by listening to your presentation.

4/ Preview Your Main Points

Give a brief overview of the main points or sections you will cover in your presentation. It helps the audience understand the structure and flow of your presentation and creates anticipation.

5/ Establish Credibility

Share your expertise or credentials related to the topic to build trust with the audience, such as a brief personal story, relevant experience, or mentioning your professional background.

6/ Engage Emotionally

Connect emotional levels with your audience by appealing to their aspirations, fears, desires, or values. They help create a deeper connection and engagement from the very beginning.

Make sure your introduction is concise and to the point. Avoid unnecessary details or lengthy explanations. Aim for clarity and brevity to maintain the audience’s attention.

For example, Topic: Work-life balance

“Good morning, everyone! Can you imagine waking up each day feeling energized and ready to conquer both your personal and professional pursuits? Well, that’s exactly what we’ll explore today – the wonderful world of work-life balance. In a fast-paced society where work seems to consume every waking hour, it’s vital to find that spot where our careers and personal lives harmoniously coexist. Throughout this presentation, we’ll dive into practical strategies that help us achieve that coveted balance, boost productivity, and nurture our overall well-being. 

But before we dive in, let me share a bit about my journey. As a working professional and a passionate advocate for work-life balance, I have spent years researching and implementing strategies that have transformed my own life. I am excited to share my knowledge and experiences with all of you today, with the hope of inspiring positive change and creating a more fulfilling work-life balance for everyone in this room. So, let’s get started!”

Check out: How to Start a Presentation?

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Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or new to the stage, understanding how to write a presentation that conveys your message effectively is a valuable skill. By following the steps in this guide, you can become a captivating presenter and make your mark in every presentation you deliver.

Additionally, AhaSlides can significantly enhance your presentation’s impact. With AhaSlides, you can use live polls, quizzes, and word cloud to turn your presentation into an engaging and interactive experience. Let’s take a moment to explore our vast template library !

Frequently Asked Questions

1/ how to write a presentation step by step .

You can refer to our step-by-step guide on How To Write A Presentation Script:

  • Understand Your Purpose and Audience
  • Outline the Structure of Your Presentation
  • Craft Clear and Concise Sentences
  • Use Visual Aids and Supporting Material
  • Include Engagement Techniques
  • Rehearse and Revise
  • Seek Feedback

2/ How do you start a presentation? 

You can start with an engaging opening that grabs the audience’s attention and introduces your topic. Consider using one of the following approaches:

3/ What are the five parts of a presentation?

When it comes to presentation writing, a typical presentation consists of the following five parts:

  • Introduction: Capturing the audience’s attention, introducing yourself, stating the purpose, and providing an overview.
  • Main Body: Presenting main points, evidence, examples, and arguments.
  • Visual Aids: Using visuals to enhance understanding and engage the audience.
  • Conclusion: Summarizing main points, restating key message, and leaving a memorable takeaway or call to action.
  • Q&A or Discussion: Optional part for addressing questions and encouraging audience participation.

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What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation

  • Carmine Gallo

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Five tips to set yourself apart.

Never underestimate the power of great communication. It can help you land the job of your dreams, attract investors to back your idea, or elevate your stature within your organization. But while there are plenty of good speakers in the world, you can set yourself apart out by being the person who can deliver something great over and over. Here are a few tips for business professionals who want to move from being good speakers to great ones: be concise (the fewer words, the better); never use bullet points (photos and images paired together are more memorable); don’t underestimate the power of your voice (raise and lower it for emphasis); give your audience something extra (unexpected moments will grab their attention); rehearse (the best speakers are the best because they practice — a lot).

I was sitting across the table from a Silicon Valley CEO who had pioneered a technology that touches many of our lives — the flash memory that stores data on smartphones, digital cameras, and computers. He was a frequent guest on CNBC and had been delivering business presentations for at least 20 years before we met. And yet, the CEO wanted to sharpen his public speaking skills.

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  • Carmine Gallo is a Harvard University instructor, keynote speaker, and author of 10 books translated into 40 languages. Gallo is the author of The Bezos Blueprint: Communication Secrets of the World’s Greatest Salesman  (St. Martin’s Press).

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Business writing essentials

How to write a presentation (and deliver it, even via Zoom)

Jack elliott.

31 minute read

A woman at a microphone giving a presentation.

You’ve been asked to give a presentation. Chances are, your response will be roughly one of the following:

1. It’s a subject you’re passionate about and you’re a confident speaker. You’re pleased to have the opportunity.

2. You secretly worry that your style is flat and unengaging. You’re not looking forward to it.

3. At best, the prospect makes you nervous; at worst, terrified. You’d rather have root canal surgery.

If you belong in one of the last two categories, you probably know you’re not alone. You may have heard the statistic that public speaking is more widely feared even than death .

Quote from Mark Twain, illustrated with his photo: ‘There are only two types of speakers in the world: those who are nervous and liars.’

However you feel about the prospect of presenting, this comprehensive guide will take you step by step through the process of planning, writing and delivering a presentation you can be proud of (even via Zoom).

Use the contents links below to jump to the section you need most, make your way through methodically from start to finish, or bookmark this page for next time you need it.

What is a presentation?

Essentially, it’s a story. And its origins go back thousands of years – to when our ancestors gathered around the campfire to listen to the wise elders of the tribe. Without PowerPoint!

These days, presentations encompass the glitz and scale of the Oscars or the new iPhone launch through to business briefings to smaller audiences, in person or – increasingly – online. We’re focusing on the business side.

Whatever the occasion, there’s always an element of drama involved. A presentation is not a report you can read at your leisure, it’s an event – speakers are putting themselves on the spot to explain, persuade or inspire you. Good presentations use this dynamic to support their story.

Always remember: everyone wants you to do well

If you are nervous, always remember: no one sets out to write a poor presentation and no one wants to go to one either. There may be private agendas in the room, but for the most part audiences approach presentations positively. They want to be engaged and to learn. They want you to do well.

First things first: the date’s in the diary and you need to prepare. Let’s break it down.

Preparing a presentation

1. Preparing your presentation

Imagine you’re a designer in the automotive industry and your boss has asked you to give a presentation. The subject: the future of the car and how it will fit with all the other modes of transport.

Where to start? How to approach it? First you need an angle, a key idea.

We talk about ‘giving’ a presentation – and of course it’s the audience who will be receiving it. So, instead of beginning with cars (in this case), let’s think about people. That way we can root the talk in the everyday experience we all share.

Maybe you remember a time you were stuck in traffic on a motorway. Morning rush hour. No one moving. Up ahead children were crossing a footbridge on their way to school, laughing at the cars going nowhere. And you thought, ‘Enjoy it while you can! This will be you one day.’ But maybe not. Surely we can do better for future generations!

There’s your opening – the whole issue captured in a single image, and you’ve immediately engaged your audience with a simple story.

The who, the why and the what

Always begin with the people you’ll be addressing in mind. Before you start writing, answer three fundamental questions: who is your audience, why are you talking to them and what do you want to say?

The answers will provide the strong foundations you need and start the ideas flowing. Ignore them and you risk being vague and unfocused. Clear writing is the result of clear thinking and thinking takes time, but it’s time well spent.

Got a presentation to write? Before you do anything else, answer three fundamental questions: who is your audience, why are you talking to them and what do you want to say? @EmphasisWriting Click To Tweet

Start with the audience

Are you a senior car designer talking to your team? If the answer’s yes, you can assume high-level, shared knowledge.

But if you’re talking to the sales or marketing departments, you can’t make the same assumptions – there are issues you might have to explain and justify. And if it’s a press briefing, it’s about getting the message out to the general public – a different story again.

Knowing your audience will also dictate your tone. Your presentation to the board is likely to be quite formal, whereas a talk for your team can be more relaxed.

And what’s the audience’s mood? On another occasion you might have bad news to deliver – perhaps the national economy and the company’s finances are threatening people’s jobs. Then you must empathise – put yourself in their position and adapt your tone accordingly.

I want to …

You also need a clear objective (the why ). For our car designer, the overriding objective should be to plant a key idea in the audience’s mind. Starting with that image of the schoolchildren, it’s to convince the audience that the company has a radical and distinctive design future.

That’s the takeaway. How should they do that? Should they explain, persuade or inspire – the three key strategies for any presentation? You may need to use several of them to achieve your goal.

Objectives should always complete the statement ‘I want to …’. What do you want to do ?

It’s about …

The what is the substance of your presentation – the building blocks, all the facts and figures that tell the audience ‘It’s about …’.

Back to our designer. The move away from petrol and diesel will allow a complete rethink of car design. The electric power unit and battery can lie under the car’s floor, freeing up all the space taken up by the conventional engine. And then there are all the issues around emission-free, autonomous vehicles in the ‘smart’ cities of the future.

When you’re planning, it can be helpful to get all the information out of your head and onto the page, using a mind map , like the example below (for a talk on UK transport policy).

This is an effective way of unlocking everything you know (or still need to do more research on). Start with your main topic, then keep asking yourself questions (like who, what, when, where, how and why) to dig into all the aspects.

Mind map to plan talk on UK transport policy. Full description below, under summary field labelled 'Open description of image'

Mind map with the topic of ‘UK transport policy at the centre. Arrows point out to six bubbles with the labels ‘Who’, ‘When’, ‘Why’, ‘How’, ‘What’ and ‘Where’. More arrows point out from each of these bubbles to explore related points in each area, and still more arrows from some of those points to expand further. The information reads:

  • Special interests / NGOs
  • Need for clear government direction
  • What industry will do
  • R&D spend
  • What industry is doing
  • Congestion [this leads to the sub-point ‘Wasted time and money’]
  • More pollution
  • More congestion
  • More wasted time and money
  • Climate change
  • Road pricing
  • Legislation
  • Working together
  • New technology
  • Exports/revenue
  • Social policy
  • Rest of world
  • Emerging economies

Once you’ve got it all out on the page, you can identify which parts actually belong in your presentation. Don’t try to include every last detail: audiences don’t want to process piles of information. They are more interested in your ideas and conclusions.

Now let’s put all this research and planning into a structure.

2. How to structure your presentation

On 28 August 1963, Dr Martin Luther King Jr stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and delivered one of the most powerful speeches in history: ‘I have a dream’.

He was the leader of the civil rights movement in the US and his audience that day numbered in the hundreds of thousands. His goal was to inspire them to continue the struggle.

Presentations usually aim to either explain, persuade or inspire – sometimes with elements of all three. Your aim will determine your structure. This will be the backbone of your presentation, giving it strength and direction.

Explain in a logical sequence

When you explain, you add to people’s knowledge to build the key idea. But ask yourself, what does this audience already know?

If you’re an astrophysicist talking to an audience of your peers, you can use terms and concepts you know they’ll be familiar with. If you’re explaining black holes to Joe Public, you can’t do that. Typically, you’ll have to use simple analogies to keep the audience with you (‘Imagine you’re in a huge dark room …’).

Whether it’s black holes or new software, good explanations start with what we know and then build on that understanding, step by step, layer by layer. The audience will stay with you if they can follow your logic and you can help this with linking comments – ‘Building on that … ‘, ‘This means …’, ‘To illustrate that, I’ve always found …’.

Presentations usually aim to either explain, persuade or inspire – sometimes with elements of all three. Your aim will determine your presentation's structure. @EmphasisWriting Click To Tweet

We need to change

If you’re writing a persuasive presentation, you also need to follow a particular sequence.

Whether you’re writing a pitch for a prospective customer or making research-based recommendations to a client, you follow the same structure. That structure is the Four Ps . It’s a powerful way of leading your audience’s thinking.

Start with the current situation – where you are now ( position ). Explain why you can’t stay there, so the audience agrees things have to change ( problem ). Suggest up to three credible ways you can address the issue ( possibilities ). Then decide which one is the optimum solution ( proposal ).

Three is a magic number for writers – not too many, not too few. But there may be one standout possibility, in which case you go straight to it ( position, problem, proposal ).

Think about how the pandemic has profoundly changed our working lives. Towns and cities are full of offices that people used to commute to. But to maintain social distancing, we’ve been encouraged to work from home where possible and to stay away from public transport.

At some point, decision-makers within organisations will have to make a call – or share a recommendation – about what to do long term. Should we go back to the office, stay at home or combine the two?

If we had to present on this choice using the Four Ps structure, we could outline the pros and cons of each possibility and then make a push for the one we recommend above the others. Or we could join the likes of Google and Twitter and simply propose purely remote working well into the future.

I have a dream

A presentation that inspires is about the future – about what could be. Scientists inspire children to follow careers in astronomy or physics with their passion and stunning visuals. Designers re-energise companies with their radical, exciting visions. Business leaders convince their staff that they really can turn things around.

The Rosette Nebula

An audience watching an inspirational presentation is not going to take away lots of facts and figures. What’s important is their emotional and intellectual engagement with the speaker, their shared sense of purpose. One way to build that engagement is with your structure.

From dark to light

The most inspiring presentations are so often born of shared struggle. On 13 May 1940, Winston Churchill addressed the British parliament – and the British people listening on their radios – in the darkest days of the Second World War.

He was brutally realistic in his assessment of the current position: ‘We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.’ He then set out his policy: ‘To wage war by sea, land and air, with all our might … against a monstrous tyranny’, and the prize: ‘Victory, however long and hard the road may be.’

In difficult situations, audiences immediately see through false hope and empty rhetoric. They want honest acknowledgement, and the determination and clear strategy to lead them to the future.

We can imagine how the same structure could show up in a more business-related context:

‘I’m not going to sugar-coat the figures. We have to change to save jobs and secure our future. There will be dark days and sacrifices along the way, but what’s the hardest part of any turnaround? It’s getting started. To do that, we all need to keep asking two fundamental questions: where can we improve, how can we improve? And if we push hard enough and if we’re utterly relentless, change will come and our momentum will build.’

Insight boxout. Transcript below, under summary field labelled 'Open transcript of image’

Are you going to appeal to your audience’s

  • habits of thought (current beliefs)?

If your recommendations run counter to their current beliefs, try appealing to their emotions.

3. Writing your presentation script

You don’t have to write a script. Some people put a few PowerPoint slides together and wing it; others make do with bullets on a smartphone, laptop or cue cards. It depends on the event and the presenter.

Writing a full script takes time, but if it’s a very important presentation and you might use it again – perhaps to appeal for investment – it will be worth it.

Some people will write a full script because the company or organisation that’s commissioned a presentation will want to see a copy well ahead of the event (often for legal reasons). Others will write the script, edit it down to the required time and then edit it down again to bullets or notes.

If the presentation is to a small audience, your notes or bullets will suit a more conversational approach. There are no rules here – see what works best for you. But what you must do is know your subject inside out.

To write clearly, you must think clearly and a full script will expose the areas that aren’t clear – where an explanation needs strengthening, for example, or where you should work on a transition.

Timing is everything

A full script also helps with working out timing, and timing is crucial. TED talks, for example, have a strict 18-minute limit, whether in front of an audience or online. That’s short enough to hold attention, but long enough to communicate a key idea. (The ‘I have a dream’ speech lasted 17 minutes 40 seconds and it changed the world.)

It takes a very skilled presenter to go much over 30 minutes. If you are taking questions during or after your presentation , however, it’s fine to build in extra time.

Imagine you’re writing your presentation in full and your slot is 20 minutes. On an A4 page with a 14-point Calibri font and 1.5 line spacing, that will equate to about 10 pages.

You can also divide the page in two, with slides on the left and text on the right (or vice versa). Then you can plan your words and visuals in parallel – and that will be roughly 20 pages.

Example excerpt of presentation script. Full description and transcript below under summary field labelled 'Open description and transcript of image

Script page with a slide on the left-hand side and text on the right. The slide has the heading ‘What is your purpose?’ and has a photo of a smiling person at a whiteboard mid-presentation. The text on the slide reads:

Do you want to:

  • do a combination of all three?

The notes next to the slide read:

How should they do that? Should they explain, persuade or inspire – the three key strategies for any presentation? You may need to use several of them to achieve your goal.

The most powerful key on your keyboard – Delete

Use these numbers as your goal, but your first draft will probably be longer. That’s when you start deleting.

Be ruthless. Anything not adding to the story must go, including those anecdotes you’ve been telling for years ( especially those anecdotes). It’s not about what you want to tell the audience, it’s about what they need to hear.

Don’t feel you have to include every single issue either. Dealing with two or three examples in some detail is far better than saying a little bit about many more.

And interpret visual material you’re displaying rather than describing it, just as you wouldn’t repeat the text that’s on the screen. The audience can see it already.

It’s a conversation

Be yourself – don’t write a script that’s not in your style. We want the real you, not a supercharged version.

Some people are naturals when it comes to presenting – which can mean they’ve learned how to draw on their authentic strengths.

Sir David Attenborough is a great example. He has a wide-ranging knowledge of the natural world. He has an infectious passion and enthusiasm for his subject. And most importantly, he doesn’t lecture the camera: he talks naturally to his audience (and he’s now using Instagram to inspire new generations).

You can take a cue from Sir David and make your presentation style your own. Knowing your own strengths and really understanding your why will help you speak with purpose and passion.

And aim to speak naturally. Use conversational, inclusive language. That means lots of personal pronouns ( I believe, we can) and contractions ( Don’t you wonder …, you’re probably thinking …).

Sir David Attenborough introduces his new series, Our Planet at its premiere. He builds up our awareness by layering information alongside arresting statistics. These are framed simply, in relatable terms (‘96% of mass on the planet is us …’), so we easily grasp their shocking significance. He also uses ‘we’ and ‘us’ a lot to underline how this environmental emergency affects us all on ‘the planet we all call home’.

Finding the right words

Imagine you’re talking to someone as you write. And try saying the words out loud – it’s a good way to catch those complex, overlong sentences or particular words that will be difficult to say.

Presentations are not reports that can be reread – the audience has to understand what you are saying in the moment . Don’t leave them wondering what on earth you’re talking about, as they will only fall behind.

So avoid using long or complex words, or words you wouldn’t hear in everyday conversation (if your everyday conversation includes ‘quarks’ and ‘vectors’, that’s fine). And beware of jargon – it can exclude the audience and it quickly becomes clichéd and outdated.

Here are some more hints and tips on how to write effectively for speaking:

Syntax (word order): Disentangle your thoughts and arrange the words in your sentences to be simple and logical. Often, complex syntax shows up when the main point is getting lost inside excess information (or that the speaker is unsure what their main point is).

Pace, rhythm and tone: Varying the pace, rhythm and tone of sentences makes both the speaking and listening experience far more enjoyable.

Make sure the stress falls on the most important words. For example, ‘To be or not to be ‘ (where the stress rises and falls on alternate words) or ‘I have a dream ‘ (where the stress falls on the final word).

Vary the length of sentences and experiment with using very short sentences to emphasise a point.

Play with rhythm by arranging words in pairs and trios. Saying things in threes gives a sense of movement, progression and resolution: Going, going … gone . Saying words in pairs gives a more balanced tone (‘courage and commitment’, ‘energy and effort’) or a sense of tension between the words (‘war and peace’, ‘imports and exports’).

Analogies: Good analogies can work well in presentations because they paint vivid pictures for the audience. The best way to do it is to use either a simile (‘It wasn’t so much a dinner party, more like feeding time at the zoo’) or a metaphor (‘He was the fox and the company was the henhouse’).

Alliteration: This means using two or more words that start with the same sound, like ‘big and bold’, ‘sleek and shiny’ or ‘key components’. On the page alliteration may look contrived, but it can effectively highlight important phrases in a presentation.

Words to avoid: Be careful about using clichés like ‘pushing the envelope’, ‘playing hardball’ and ‘thinking outside the box’. And think carefully about using any word that ends with -ism, -ise, -based, -gate, -focused and -driven.

Be careful with humour too: don’t write jokes unless you can naturally tell them well. Keep the tone light if it fits the occasion, but a badly told joke can be excruciating.

4. How to start your presentation

People tend to remember beginnings and endings the most, so make sure your opening and conclusion are both strong.

You have about a minute to engage an audience. You want them to be intrigued, to want to know more, to come slightly forward in their seats. If you only learn one part of your presentation by heart, make it that minute.

A quick ‘thank you’ is fine if someone has introduced you. A quick ‘good morning’ to the audience is fine too. But don’t start thanking them for coming and hoping they’ll enjoy what you have to say – you’re not accepting an Oscar, and they can tell you what they thought when it’s over. Get straight down to business.

There are four basic types of introduction which will draw your audience in:

  • News – ‘Positive Covid-19 tests worldwide have now reached …’
  • Anecdotal – ‘About ten years ago, I was walking to work and I saw …’
  • Surprise – ‘Every five minutes, an American will die because of the food they eat.’
  • Historical – ‘In 1800, the world’s population was one billion. It’s now 7.8 billion.’

You can interpret these beginnings in any number of ways. If you were to say, ‘I have an admission to make …’, we will expect a personal anecdote relating to your main theme. And because you’re alone in front of us, it’s playing on your vulnerability. We’re intrigued straight away, and you’ve established a good platform for the rest of the presentation.

You can also combine these techniques. The historical beginning creates a sense of movement – that was then and this is now – as well as a surprising fact. It may prompt a thought like, ‘Wow, where’s this going?’ And you can trade on this with your own rhetorical question: ‘What does this mean for everyone in this room? It’s not what you think …’.

As well as setting up your story, you need to quickly reassure the audience they’re in safe hands. One way to do that is to give them a map – to tell them where you’re going to take them and what they’re going to see along the way.

Then you’re starting the journey together.

5. How to end your presentation

Your ending is what you want the audience to take away: your call to action, your vision of the future and how they can contribute.

If your presentation is online or to a small group in a small room, your ending is not going to be a battle cry, a call to man the barricades – that would be totally inappropriate. But equally don’t waste it with something flat and uninspiring.

Here are four effective ways to end your talk (like the intros, you can combine them or come up with your own):

  • Predict the future – ‘So what can we expect in the next ten years? …’
  • Quotation – ‘As our chief exec said at the meeting yesterday, …’
  • Repeat a major issue – ‘We can’t carry on with the same old same old.’
  • Summarise – ‘Continuous improvement isn’t our goal. It’s our culture.’

Predicting the future fits well with a historical beginning – it completes the arc of your presentation.

If you end with a quotation, make sure it’s relevant and credible – it has to be an authoritative stamp.

Repeating a major issue means pulling out and highlighting a major strand of your presentation, while summarising is about encapsulating your argument in a couple of sentences.

Your ending can also be a change of tone, perhaps signalled by the single word ‘Finally …’. It’s the audience’s cue to come slightly forward again and pay close attention.

As with your opening, it will have more impact if you’ve learned your ending – put down your notes, take a couple of steps towards the audience and address them directly, before a simple ‘Thank you.’

6. Creating your PowerPoint slides

We’ve all been there – watching a seemingly endless, poorly designed slide deck that’s simply restating what the presenter is saying. So common is this tortuous experience that there’s a name for it: Death by PowerPoint. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

Do you need slides at all?

As with your script, the first thing you should ask is ‘Do I actually need this?’ In 2019, Sir Tim Berners-Lee gave the Richard Dimbleby lecture for the BBC. He spoke for about 40 minutes with no autocue (he’d memorised his script) – and no speaker support.

This is a uniquely powerful form of presentation because the audience’s attention is totally focused on that one person. The call to action at the end of a presentation and delivering bad news are also best done without visuals.

Visual support

But if they’re well-judged and relevant, slides or other visuals can add enormously to a presentation – whether it’s photography, video or the ubiquitous PowerPoint. There are, however, two things everyone should know about PowerPoint in particular:

  • It’s incredibly versatile and convenient.
  • In the wrong hands, it can be unbearably tedious.

Your PowerPoint slides should not essentially be your cue cards projected onto a screen. They shouldn’t be packed margin to margin with text or full of complex diagrams.

If the presentation is live, the audience has come to watch you, not your slide deck. Online, the deck may have to work harder to sustain visual interest.

As with the script, keep your finger poised over that Delete key when you’re putting the deck together.

How many slides?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how many slides you should use, but think in terms of no more than one or two a minute on average. And don’t use more than a couple of short video inserts in a 20-minute presentation.

You might have a section where you show a few slides in a sequence or hold a single slide for a couple of minutes, which is fine. Varying the pacing helps to keep a presentation moving.

Optimise for psychology

As self-professed presentation aficionado David JP Phillips notes in his TEDx talk , people – and that includes your audience – have terrible working memories. If you don’t account for this fact in your slides, your talk will not have a lasting impact. In fact, most of it will be forgotten within around 30 seconds.

To counter this effect, David identifies five key strategies to use when designing your PowerPoint:

  • Only have one message per slide: more than that and you’re splitting your audience’s attention.
  • Don’t use full sentences on slides, and certainly don’t imagine you can talk over them if you do. People trying to read and listen at the same time will fail at both and absorb nothing. Move your running text into the documentation section instead, and keep the slide content short and sweet.
  • People’s focus will be drawn to the biggest thing on the slide. If your headline is less important than the content below it, make the headline text the smaller of the two.
  • You can also direct people’s attention using contrast. This can be as simple as guiding their point of focus by using white text (on a dark background) for the words you want to highlight, while the surrounding text is greyed out.
  • Including too many objects per slide will sap your audience’s cognitive resources. (Your headline, every bullet, any references, even a page number each count as an object.) Include a maximum of six objects per slide and viewers will give a mental sigh of relief. This will probably mean creating more slides overall – and that’s fine.

More Powerpoint and visual aid tips

Here are a few more guidelines for creating your visual aids:

  • Never dive into PowerPoint as job one in creating your presentation. Work out your talk’s structure (at least) before designing your slide deck. Making a genuinely effective PowerPoint requires that you know your subject inside out.
  • List any visuals you’ll need as you prepare your script. That terrific photo you saw recently could be difficult to track down, and you might need permission and to pay to use it.
  • It bears repeating: keep each slide to one key idea.
  • Use the build effect of adding one bullet at a time (or use the contrast trick above) and try not to use more than three bullets per frame (or six objects overall).
  • Strip each bullet to the bare minimum – no articles (‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’), no prepositions (‘in’, ‘at’, ‘to’ etc) and cut right back on punctuation.
  • Every word that’s not there for a reason has to go. Delete, delete, delete.

‘Extra’ slides

  • Use a ‘walk-in’ slide. Rather than have the audience arrive to a blank screen, this tells them who you are and your presentation’s title.
  • Use occasional holding slides in between those with more content – perhaps an image but no text. They give the audience a visual rest and put the focus back on you.
  • A plain white background might look fine on a computer monitor, but it will be glaring on a big screen. Invert the norm with a dark background, or use shading or ‘ghosted’ images to break up backgrounds and add visual interest.
  • Some colours work better than others on-screen. Blues and greys are soft and easy on the eye. Red is a no-no, whether for backgrounds or text. And if you stick with a light background, favour a more subtle dark grey over black for the text.
  • Use sans serif fonts (like Arial, Helvetica or Calibri) and think about point size – make sure it’s easily legible.
  • Only use upper case where absolutely necessary.

Images and data

  • Photos work well full screen, but they also really stand out well on a black background.
  • Make sure your charts and graphics aren’t too complex. The dense information that’s fine on the page will not work on-screen – it’s too much to take in. Graphs behind a TV newsreader are often reduced to a single line going dramatically up or down.
  • Don’t present data or graphs and expect them to speak for themselves. You need to find the story and significance in the data and present that .

And finally

  • Proofread, proofread, proofread – or risk standing in front of an embarrassing spelling mistake.

Technical check

  • Check what laptop they’re using at your venue. If you’ve written your deck on a PC, run it on a PC (and, of course, the same rule applies if you’ve used a Mac).
  • If you’ve emailed your presentation to the venue, take a USB copy along as back-up.
  • If you’re presenting online, check which platform you’ll be using and get comfortable with it. If someone else will be hosting the event, make sure you arrange a time for a rehearsal, especially if there will be a producer.

7. Delivering your presentation

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into preparing your presentation and now you’ve come to the sharp end – it’s time to stand and deliver.

Run it through

You don’t have to rehearse, but most presenters do and for good reason – it catches weak points and awkward transitions. And, crucially, it bolsters confidence.

Read your script or go through your bullets aloud – it will help to settle your nerves. If you use colleagues as a dummy audience, you can do a sense check too: ‘Does that bit work?’ ‘Have I explained it clearly?’ ‘Do you get the big picture?’ And rehearsing out loud will catch those words and sentences you thought you could say but can’t.

The more you rehearse, the more familiar and natural the presentation will become. Rehearse the technical side too – where the video is going to come in, how you’re going to vary your pace and tone to maintain interest.

Try speaking slightly more slowly than you would normally so the audience catches every word, and don’t be afraid to pause now and again. It gives a breathing space for you and the audience.

A businesswoman presenting points to a smiling member of the audience

Connect with your audience

When you deliver your presentation for real, establish eye contact with the audience, just as you would in a conversation. In a small room with a small audience, talk to individuals. In a larger space, don’t talk to the first couple of rows and ignore the rest – include everyone.

And if you stumble over your words here or there, carry on and don’t dwell on it – you’ll lose your concentration. Audiences are generally forgiving and they might not even notice.

Each audience is unique: they react differently in different places. And although tomorrow might be the tenth time you’ve done the same presentation, it will be the first time this audience sees it. Your duty is to keep it fresh for them.

A final point

This is your presentation – you’re in control and the audience needs to feel they’re in safe hands.

It’s perfectly natural to feel nervous , but it’s the thought of doing it that’s the worst bit. Once you get going – and especially when you sense the audience is with you – the nerves will start to disappear. Try to enjoy it. If you enjoy it, it’s far more likely the audience will too.

And remember: everyone wants you to do well.

write presentation

8. How to present online

Taking to Zoom or another online platform to present was once the exception. These days, online presenting is as essential a skill as presenting in person.

The switch to online can be nerve-wracking and cause even usually skilled presenters to falter. But there’s no need for that to happen.

Indeed, all of the advice we’ve talked about on preparing, structuring and writing for in-person presenting is equally relevant for your online delivery. You just need to be ready for the unique challenges that remote presentations pose.

An obvious one is that while you still have an audience, it will probably be muted and possibly even unseen (if webcams are switched off). This makes it far more difficult to gauge audience reaction, and if the event is pre-recorded, there might not be any at all – at least not immediately. Clapping and laughing emojis are not quite like the real thing.

Keep eye contact

But although your audience may be many miles away, there are still ways you can – and should – create a sense of connection with them. Your presentation will have much more impact if you do.

Whether the event is live or recorded, at least start with your webcam on (unless you really can only use slides). If it’s an option and feels appropriate, consider keeping your camera on throughout – remember, you are the presentation as much as any visuals.

If you will be on display, make sure you know where your webcam’s lens is and at key moments of your talk look directly into it – and out at your audience – to punctuate those points.

And don’t look at a second screen to cue up your PowerPoint – viewers will think your attention is wandering.

Engage your online audience

Being an engaging speaker is always important, but remember that the online world is already a place we associate with distraction. It’s also easier for a viewer behind their laptop to disguise their wandering attention than it would be for one in an auditorium or boardroom.

This isn’t to say your audience don’t want to give you their attention. But it is more important than ever to keep your presentation sharp and concise. Revisit your structure, your script or cue cards and your slides. Take a really critical eye to it and (as always) delete, delete, delete anything that’s not directly relevant.

If it works for your format, you can look at making your presentation interactive. You can then break the content into short segments, interspersed with comment, polls, questions and discussion. The variety will be a welcome change for your viewers.

Your visuals are part of what will keep people with you – along with the interplay you create between you and them. This means following the best-practice guidance we covered earlier is even more important.

Using Zoom for your presentation? Master the art of online delivery through this simple mix of set-up, delivery and technical tricks @EmphasisWriting Click To Tweet

Modulate your voice

Your tone of voice is extremely important here because presenting online is like radio with pictures. When people say ‘You have a great voice for radio’ what they mean is that it’s easy to listen to, often because you’re using quite a low-pitched, warm and relaxed register.

Listen to voices on the radio and voiceovers and identify the ones you particularly enjoy. What do you like about them? Why do you enjoy some voices and not others?

A flat, unmodulated voice, for instance, is difficult to listen to for long periods (and isn’t likely to inspire anyone).

Experiment with intentionally adding energy to your voice, as internet audio can have a dulling effect. As our trainer Gary Woodward puts it: ‘Turn up the enthusiasm dial even higher than you think, to make sure it comes through.’ And always vary your pace and tone as you would in a normal conversation.

And if it suits the tone of your talk, smile now and again. Smiling is contagious, and people will hear it in your voice even if they can’t see you.

Perfect your transitions

One of the other key challenges of remote presentations is that you have another layer of technology to wrestle with: sharing your PowerPoint online.

This means that many presentations begin with the popular catchphrase ‘Can you see my screen?’

This can also cause many presenters to stumble through their transitions, making the links between their slides clunky. And while remote audiences may be forgiving, for a slick presentation it’s best to prevent these sort of fumbles.

Naturally, practice plays a part here. But you can also give yourself the advantage with your set-up.

Dave Paradi from Think Outside the Slide explains one great way of setting up Zoom so you can smoothly cue up and run your slide deck – and be certain what’s being displayed.

You’ll even be able to see the rest of your screen (but the audience won’t). As you’ll be able to see what’s coming up, your transitions can also be seamless.

The trick is to use one of Zoom’s advanced settings after you hit ‘Share screen’, to share only a portion of your screen:

Screensharing options in Zoom. Full description below, under summary field labelled 'Open description of image'

Advanced screensharing options pop-up box in Zoom, with the options ‘Portion of Screen’, ‘Music or Computer Sound Only’ and ‘Content from 2nd Camera’. The ‘Portion of Screen’ option is highlighted in blue.

This will give you a frame you can move to the part of the screen you want the audience to see.

Put your PowerPoint slides into ‘presenter view’ before launching the screenshare. Then you’ll be able to see the upcoming slides and your notes throughout, and your animations (like build slides) will work as normal.

PowerPoint presenter view using Zoom's portion of screen. Full description below, under summary field labelled 'Open description of image'

Zoom’s ‘portion of screen’ setting in action

Presenter view in PowerPoint, with the current displayed slide on the left and the upcoming slide displaying smaller on the right, with notes below it. There is a notification saying ‘You are screen sharing’ at the top and a sharing frame positioned around the current slide.

The other part of the trick? Set it up in advance shortly before you’re due to speak. Once you’re happy with the set up, you can stop sharing until it’s time to kick off your talk. When you return to ‘Share screen’ again, it will reopen the frame in the same place.

Dave shows you the process in this video:

Five practical tips for a truly professional online presentation

You’re happy with the content of your talk, you’ve ruthlessly streamlined your slides and mastered your radio voice. Now just make sure you cover these crucial practicalities for a polished presentation:

1. Create a good space Make sure you have your environment well set up:

  • Keep the background on display as tidy and minimalist as possible – a plain wall or backdrop is great, if you can.
  • Manage and minimise background noise (shut the window, ensure your phone’s on silent, put the cat out, make sure someone’s watching the kids in another room – whatever it takes).
  • Check your lighting: have your light source in front of you, not behind you (or you’ll be in shadow).
  • Set up your computer or device at eye level so that you are well-framed and facing it straight on – avoid looming above it while providing a lovely view into your nostrils.

2. Think about your appearance Dress in the same way you would if the presentation were in person, and judge your choice of attire based on the formality of the event and your audience.

3. Practise! Run through the presentation and rehearse the technical side. Practise your transitions, including the initial cueing up of your slides (perhaps using the Zoom tip above), so that you can be confident in doing it all smoothly.

4. Be primed and ready Log in early on the day of your talk. Check all your tech is working, get your headset on and ensure everything is set up well ahead of time. This will save any last-minute issues (and stress) and means you can hit the ground running.

5. Stand and deliver Even online, consider giving your presentation standing up, if you can do so comfortably (adjusting your device or webcam accordingly). This may put you more into a presenting frame of mind and will differentiate you from most remote presenters.

Are you still there?

Live audiences have a group dynamic – as soon as a few people start laughing it becomes infectious and the others join in. It’s naturally different online. But that doesn’t have to throw you.

You might not get that immediate feedback, but don’t overcompensate and feel you have to win them back.

Yes, it’s often more difficult to gauge an audience’s reaction online – especially if their audio is muted and their webcams off. Yes, this can be daunting. But they are still out there listening. You may or may not hear (or see) laughter, but they could still be smiling and very interested in what you have to say. Have faith in your own content. Whatever form your delivery will take, keep coming back to your purpose and message for giving this talk – and keep considering the people you’ll be talking to. Whether the address will be online or in person, it is keeping this focus which is the key to every powerful presentation.

Ready to learn even more? Work one-to-one on your presentation-writing skills with one of our expert trainers or join our scheduled presentation-writing courses . If your team are looking to upskill, we also offer tailored in-house training . And if fear of presenting is holding your team back, check out our in-house course The reluctant presenter .

Image credit: lightpoet / Shutterstock

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These days he's one of Emphasis' top business-writing trainers, but in previous career lives Jack has written for many public and private sector organisations. He has an in-depth knowledge of the engineering and manufacturing sectors, particularly the UK automotive industry. As the lead scriptwriter for chairmen and CEOs, he has been responsible for proposals, pitches and reports as well as high-profile speeches and global product launches.

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Few of us feel entirely comfortable writing a presentation. There is something very daunting for many people about the process of moving your thoughts from your head to paper (or a series of slides on the computer).

However, there are things that you can do to help yourself. These include knowing your material well and taking time to consider what you want to say.

This page provides advice on how to write a presentation. It discusses the initial writing, and then also explains how to review and edit your work. This will help to ensure that your presentation is as effective as possible.

Before you start...

Before you start to write your presentation, you need certain information: the objective, the subject, and details of the audience, for example. For more about this, see our page on Preparing Your Presentation .

Based on the information you have gathered, you should also have started to develop your ideas and select the main points to include. For more about this, see our page on Organising Your Material .

Some basic starting points

There are two really important things to remember when starting to write a presentation:

1. Give your presentation an introduction, a main message, and a conclusion.

Some people summarise this as ‘say what you’re going to say, say it, then say what you’ve said’ .

However, that is not the whole story. Your introduction needs to ‘set the scene’ a bit and give a broad outline of what you are going to cover in your presentation. If you are using presentation software such as PowerPoint, this should be a single slide. Your conclusion needs to sum up and present your main message to your audience, probably again in a single slide.

If you are taking questions after your presentation, and you are using PowerPoint, you will probably have a slide up on the screen during questions. You could, of course, have a final slide that says something like “Thank you for listening, any questions?”, or gives your contact details.

However, you could also leave up a final slide that highlights your conclusions.

This will help to ensure that your key messages remain in the minds of your audience.

2. Think about using stories to get your message across

We are hard-wired by thousands of years of evolution to listen to stories. Stories helped us survive by reminding us about important behaviours. We therefore tend to remember them much better than dry lists of facts or bullet points.

It is much easier to work with this than ignore it.

There are two aspects of this.

First, you should try to think about your presentation as telling a story to your audience. What is the point that you are trying to make, and how can you best get it across?

Second, it is helpful to use stories as part of your presentation . For example, if you start by telling a story or anecdote, it will act as a ‘hook’ to draw in your audience. You can also use stories to illustrate each point you want to make. Of course, your story has to link to your main message, because you can pretty much guarantee that your audience will remember the story much longer than the conclusion!

Structuring Your Presentation

The structure and content of your presentation will of course be unique to you.

Only you can decide on the best way to present your messages.  However, you might like to consider some standard presentation structures for inspiration:

1. Harnessing the Power of Three

In public speaking and rhetorical debate, as well as in much communication, three is a magic number.  The brain finds it relatively easy to grasp three points at a time.

People find three points, ideas or numbers, easier to understand and remember than four or more. 

You could therefore structure your presentation using the magic number of three.

For example, your presentation should have three main elements: the introduction, middle and conclusions. Within the main body of your presentation, divide your key message into three elements and then expand each of these points into three sub-points.  If you are using a visual aid such as PowerPoint, limit the number of bullet points to three on each slide and expand on each of these as you go along.

What should you do if you have more than three points to make?

Reduce them until you don’t have more than three points!

Your audience will probably only remember three of your five or six points anyway—but which three? Do the work for them, and identify the three most important points, and leave the others out.

2. What, Why, How?

An alternative structure uses the questions “What?”, “Why?” and “How?” to communicate your message to the audience. In a way, this also harnesses the power of three, but is a special case for driving action.

“What?” identifies the key message you wish to communicate. Think about the benefit of your message for your audience. What will they gain, what can they do with the information, and what will the benefit be?

“Why?” addresses the next obvious question that arises for the audience .  Having been told “what”, the audience will naturally then start to think “why should I do that?”, “why should I think that?” or “why should that be the case?”. Directly addressing the “why?” question in the next stage of your presentation means that you are answering these questions and your talk is following a natural route through the material. This will ensure that you have the audience on your side immediately.

“How?” is the final question that naturally arises in the audience’s mind . They want to know how they are going to achieve what you have just suggested.  Try not to be too prescriptive here. Instead of telling people exactly how they should act on your message, offer suggestions as to how they can act, perhaps using examples.

You should try to back up what you say with evidence. You can use case studies, personal examples or statistics here, but try to ensure that you use them in the form of stories.

There is more about this on our page Presenting Data .

Editing Your Content

Once you have a first draft of your presentation, it is important to review and edit this.

This will help to ensure that it really does get your message across in the most effective way.

When editing presentation content, you should consider:

The language . Make sure that what you are saying will be clear to your audience. Remove any jargon and try to use plain English instead. If necessary, explain terms when you first use them.

Sentence structure .  Use short sentences and keep the structure simple. Remember that you will be talking through your ideas and that the audience will be listening rather than reading.

The flow . Make sure that your presentation structure leads your audience through your ideas and helps them to draw your conclusion for themselves.

Use metaphors and stories to aid understanding and retention.

‘Hooks’ to get and hold the audience’s attention . Ensure that you have included several ‘hooks’ at various points in the presentation. This will help you to get and then keep the audience’s attention. These might be stories, or audience participation, or some alternative visual aids , such as a short video.

Check, and double check, for spelling and grammar . Make sure that any presentation slides or illustrations, titles, captions, handouts or similar are free from spelling mistakes.

Ideally, you should take a break from the presentation before editing so that you can look at your writing with a fresh pair of eyes.

You might also want to ask a friend or colleague to have a look, particularly at the flow and the language. If possible, ask someone who is not familiar with the material .

A final thought

The actual writing of your presentation is really the final stage of your preparation.

If you have done your homework, you will already be clear about the reason why you are presenting, the subject matter, and the main points you want to make. Actually putting it down on paper should therefore be relatively straightforward.

Continue to: Deciding the Presentation Method Preparing for a Presentation

See also: Organising the Presentation Material Working with Visual Aids Coping with Presentation Nerves Dealing with Questions

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What Are Effective Presentation Skills (and How to Improve Them)

Presentation skills are essential for your personal and professional life. Learn about effective presentations and how to boost your presenting techniques.

[Featured Image]: The marketing manager, wearing a yellow top, is making a PowerPoint presentation.

At least seven out of 10 Americans agree that presentation skills are essential for a successful career [ 1 ]. Although it might be tempting to think that these are skills reserved for people interested in public speaking roles, they're critical in a diverse range of jobs. For example, you might need to brief your supervisor on research results.

Presentation skills are also essential in other scenarios, including working with a team and explaining your thought process, walking clients through project ideas and timelines, and highlighting your strengths and achievements to your manager during performance reviews.

Whatever the scenario, you have very little time to capture your audience’s attention and get your point across when presenting information—about three seconds, according to research [ 2 ]. Effective presentation skills help you get your point across and connect with the people you’re communicating with, which is why nearly every employer requires them.

Understanding what presentation skills are is only half the battle. Honing your presenting techniques is essential for mastering presentations of all kinds and in all settings.

What are presentation skills?

Presentation skills are the abilities and qualities necessary for creating and delivering a compelling presentation that effectively communicates information and ideas. They encompass what you say, how you structure it, and the materials you include to support what you say, such as slides, videos, or images.

You'll make presentations at various times in your life. Examples include:

Making speeches at a wedding, conference, or another event

Making a toast at a dinner or event

Explaining projects to a team 

Delivering results and findings to management teams

Teaching people specific methods or information

Proposing a vote at community group meetings

Pitching a new idea or business to potential partners or investors

Why are presentation skills important? 

Delivering effective presentations is critical in your professional and personal life. You’ll need to hone your presentation skills in various areas, such as when giving a speech, convincing your partner to make a substantial purchase, and talking to friends and family about an important situation.

No matter if you’re using them in a personal or professional setting, these are the skills that make it easier and more effective to convey your ideas, convince or persuade others, and experience success. A few of the benefits that often accompany improving your presentation skills include:

Enriched written and verbal communication skills

Enhanced confidence and self-image

Boosted critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities

Better motivational techniques

Increased leadership skills

Expanded time management, negotiation, and creativity

The better your presenting techniques, the more engaging your presentations will be. You could also have greater opportunities to make positive impacts in business and other areas of your life.

Effective presentation skills

Imagine yourself in the audience at a TED Talk or sitting with your coworkers at a big meeting held by your employer. What would you be looking for in how they deliver their message? What would make you feel engaged?

These are a few questions to ask yourself as you review this list of some of the most effective presentation skills.

Verbal communication

How you use language and deliver messages play essential roles in how your audience will receive your presentation. Speak clearly and confidently, projecting your voice enough to ensure everyone can hear. Think before you speak, pausing when necessary and tailoring the way you talk to resonate with your particular audience.

Body language

Body language combines various critical elements, including posture, gestures, eye contact, expressions, and position in front of the audience. Body language is one of the elements that can instantly transform a presentation that would otherwise be dull into one that's dynamic and interesting.

Voice projection

The ability to project your voice improves your presentation by allowing your audience to hear what you're saying. It also increases your confidence to help settle any lingering nerves while also making your message more engaging. To project your voice, stand comfortably with your shoulders back. Take deep breaths to power your speaking voice and ensure you enunciate every syllable you speak.

How you present yourself plays a role in your body language and ability to project your voice. It also sets the tone for the presentation. Avoid slouching or looking overly tense. Instead, remain open, upright, and adaptable while taking the formality of the occasion into account.

Storytelling

Incorporating storytelling into a presentation is an effective strategy used by many powerful public speakers. It has the power to bring your subject to life and pique the audience’s curiosity. Don’t be afraid to tell a personal story, slowly building up suspense or adding a dramatic moment. And, of course, be sure to end with a positive takeaway to drive your point home.

Active listening

Active listening is a valuable skill all on its own. When you understand and thoughtfully respond to what you hear—whether it's in a conversation or during a presentation—you’ll likely deepen your personal relationships and actively engage audiences during a presentation. As part of your presentation skill set, it helps catch and maintain the audience’s attention, helping them remain focused while minimizing passive response, ensuring the message is delivered correctly, and encouraging a call to action.

Stage presence

During a presentation, projecting confidence can help keep your audience engaged. Stage presence can help you connect with your audience and encourage them to want to watch you. To improve your presence, try amping up your normal demeanor by infusing it with a bit of enthusiasm. Project confidence and keep your information interesting.

Watch your audience as you’re presenting. If you’re holding their attention, it likely means you’re connecting well with them.

Self-awareness

Monitoring your own emotions and reactions will allow you to react well in various situations. It helps you remain personable throughout your presentation and handle feedback well. Self-awareness can help soothe nervousness during presentations, allowing you to perform more effectively.

Writing skills

Writing is a form of presentation. Sharp writing skills can help you master your presentation’s outline to ensure you stay on message and remain clear about your objectives from the beginning until the end. It’s also helpful to have strong writing abilities for creating compelling slides and other visual aids.

Understanding an audience

When you understand your audience's needs and interests, you can design your presentation around them. In turn, you'll deliver maximum value to them and enhance your ability to make your message easy to understand.

Learn more about presentation skills from industry experts at SAP:

How to improve presentation skills

There’s an art to public speaking. Just like any other type of art, this is one that requires practice. Improving your presentation skills will help reduce miscommunications, enhance your time management capabilities, and boost your leadership skills. Here are some ways you can improve these skills:

Work on self-confidence.

When you’re confident, you naturally speak more clearly and with more authority. Taking the time to prepare your presentation with a strong opening and compelling visual aids can help you feel more confident. Other ways to improve your self-confidence include practicing positive self-talk, surrounding yourself with positive people, and avoiding comparing yourself (or your presentation) to others.

Develop strategies for overcoming fear.

Many people are nervous or fearful before giving a presentation. A bad memory of a past performance or insufficient self-confidence can contribute to fear and anxiety. Having a few go-to strategies like deep breathing, practicing your presentation, and grounding can help you transform that fear into extra energy to put into your stage presence.

Learn grounding techniques.

Grounding is any type of technique that helps you steer your focus away from distressing thoughts and keeps you connected with your present self. To ground yourself, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and imagine you’re a large, mature tree with roots extending deep into the earth—like the tree, you can become unshakable.

Learn how to use presentation tools.

Visual aids and other technical support can transform an otherwise good presentation into a wow-worthy one. A few popular presentation tools include:

Canva: Provides easy-to-design templates you can customize

Powtoon: Animation software that makes video creation fast and easy

PowerPoint: Microsoft's iconic program popular for dynamic marketing and sales presentations

Practice breathing techniques.

Breathing techniques can help quell anxiety, making it easier to shake off pre-presentation jitters and nerves. It also helps relax your muscles and get more oxygen to your brain.  For some pre-presentation calmness, you can take deep breaths, slowly inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

While presenting, breathe in through your mouth with the back of your tongue relaxed so your audience doesn't hear a gasping sound. Speak on your exhalation, maintaining a smooth voice.

Gain experience.

The more you practice, the better you’ll become. The more you doanything, the more comfortable you’ll feel engaging in that activity. Presentations are no different. Repeatedly practicing your own presentation also offers the opportunity to get feedback from other people and tweak your style and content as needed.

Tips to help you ace your presentation

Your presentation isn’t about you; it’s about the material you’re presenting. Sometimes, reminding yourself of this ahead of taking center stage can help take you out of your head, allowing you to connect effectively with your audience. The following are some of the many actions you can take on the day of your presentation.

Arrive early.

Since you may have a bit of presentation-related anxiety, it’s important to avoid adding travel stress. Give yourself an abundance of time to arrive at your destination, and take into account heavy traffic and other unforeseen events. By arriving early, you also give yourself time to meet with any on-site technicians, test your equipment, and connect with people ahead of the presentation.

Become familiar with the layout of the room.

Arriving early also gives you time to assess the room and figure out where you want to stand. Experiment with the acoustics to determine how loudly you need to project your voice, and test your equipment to make sure everything connects and appears properly with the available setup. This is an excellent opportunity to work out any last-minute concerns and move around to familiarize yourself with the setting for improved stage presence.

Listen to presenters ahead of you.

When you watch others present, you'll get a feel for the room's acoustics and lighting. You can also listen for any data that’s relevant to your presentation and revisit it during your presentation—this can make the presentation more interactive and engaging.

Use note cards.

Writing yourself a script could provide you with more comfort. To prevent sounding too robotic or disengaged, only include talking points in your note cards in case you get off track. Using note cards can help keep your presentation organized while sounding more authentic to your audience.

Learn to deliver clear and confident presentations with Dynamic Public Speaking from the University of Washington. Build confidence, develop new delivery techniques, and practice strategies for crafting compelling presentations for different purposes, occasions, and audiences.

Article sources

Forbes. “ New Survey: 70% Say Presentation Skills are Critical for Career Success , https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2014/09/25/new-survey-70-percent-say-presentation-skills-critical-for-career-success/?sh=619f3ff78890.” Accessed December 7, 2022.

Beautiful.ai. “ 15 Presentation and Public Speaking Stats You Need to Know , https://www.beautiful.ai/blog/15-presentation-and-public-speaking-stats-you-need-to-know. Accessed December 7, 2022.

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How to Make a Presentation

Last Updated: October 4, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Vikas Agrawal . Vikas Agrawal is a Visual Content Marketing Expert & Entrepreneur, as well as the Founder of Full Service Creative Agency Infobrandz. With over 10 years of experience, he specializes in designing visually engaging content, such as infographics, videos, and e-books. He’s an expert in Making content marketing strategies and has contributed to and been featured in many publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, and INC.com. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 49,561 times.

Presentations can be nerve-wracking to give. You’re far more likely to walk into a board meeting with confidence if your writing and visuals are compelling. Take time to carefully compose your story, practice and make a slideshow that will impress your audience. Thankfully, there are plenty of modern tools and programs that provide beautiful presentation templates.

Writing a Presentation

Step 1 Create an outline before you start writing.

Creating Visual Aids

Step 1 Pick your platform strategically.

  • The more you visualize the text and information available in the presentation, the better impact it is going to create on the audience's mind.

Step 7 Use photographs that are relevant.

Using Presentation Tools

Step 1 Pick your slideshow program.

  • There are many more web-based services that you can use to develop your presentation. Some of these allow you to make and edit the presentation from a tablet or phone.

Step 2 Make your slideshow into a movie.

What Is The Best Way To Start a Presentation? . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

Expert Q&A

Vikas Agrawal

Things You'll Need

  • Desktop computer, laptop, tablet or phone

You Might Also Like

Mount a Projector

Expert Interview

write presentation

Thanks for reading our article! If you'd like to learn more about making effective presentations, check out our in-depth interview with Vikas Agrawal .

  • ↑ https://www.comm.pitt.edu/oral-comm-lab/audience-analysis
  • ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/oralcommunication/guides/how-to-engage-your-audience-and-keep-them-with-you
  • ↑ https://www.washington.edu/doit/presentation-tips-0
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://libguides.wilmu.edu/presentations

About This Article

Vikas Agrawal

To make a good presentation, use a lot of visuals, like graphs, charts, and infographics, to make your presentation more interesting. Also, if you're presenting a slideshow, avoid using a lot of text in your slides since it could overwhelm and bore your audience. Instead, leave plenty of white space and focus on one key point per slide. When you're giving your presentation, take time to explain why it's relevant to your audience or how it affects their lives, which will make them more interested in what you're saying. For tips on how to choose a presentation tool, like PowerPoint or Prezi, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation (Step-by-Step)

  • PowerPoint Tutorials
  • Presentation Design
  • March 28, 2020

In this beginner’s guide, you will learn step-by-step how to make a PowerPoint presentation from scratch.

While PowerPoint is designed to be intuitive and accessible, it can be overwhelming if you’ve never gotten any training. In this article, you will learn how to move from blank slides to slides like these.

Example of the six slides you'll learn how to create in this tutorial

In this guide, you’ll specifically learn how to:

  • Start a blank presentation
  • Type text into your title slide
  • Insert more slides
  • Add content to slides
  • Change the design
  • Add animations & transitions (optional)
  • Save your presentation
  • Print your presentation

Additionally, you’ll learn tips and tricks to make a good PowerPoint presentation, including how to:

  • Change the slide order
  • Reset your layout
  • Change the slide dimensions
  • Use PowerPoint Designer
  • Format text
  • Format objects
  • Play a presentation (slide show)

With this knowledge under your belt, you’ll be ready to start creating PowerPoint presentations. Moreover, you’ll have taken your skills from beginner to proficient in no time at all. I will also include links to more advanced PowerPoint topics.

Ready to start learning how to make a PowerPoint presentation?

1. Start with a Blank Document

Note: Before you open PowerPoint and start creating your presentation, make sure you’ve collected your thoughts. If you’re going to make your slides compelling, you need to spend some time brainstorming.

For help with this, see our article with tips for nailing your business presentation  here .

The first thing you’ll need to do is to open PowerPoint. When you do, you are shown the Start Menu , with the Home tab open.

This is where you can choose either a blank theme (1) or a pre-built theme (2). You can also choose to open an existing presentation (3).

For now, go ahead and click on the  Blank Presentation (1)  thumbnail.

In the backstage view of PowerPoint you can create a new blank presentation, use a template, or open a recent file

Doing so launches a brand new and blank presentation for you to work with. Before you start adding content to your presentation, let’s first familiarize ourselves with the PowerPoint interface.

The PowerPoint interface

Picture of the different parts of the PowerPoint layout, including the Ribbon, thumbnail view, quick access toolbar, notes pane, etc.

Here is how the program is laid out:

  • The Application Header
  • The Ribbon (including the Ribbon tabs)
  • The Quick Access Toolbar (either above or below the Ribbon)
  • The Slides Pane (slide thumbnails)

The Slide Area

The notes pane.

  • The Status Bar (including the View Buttons)

Each one of these areas has options for viewing certain parts of the PowerPoint environment and formatting your presentation.

Below are the important things to know about certain elements of the PowerPoint interface.

The PowerPoint Ribbon

The PowerPoint Ribbon in the Microsoft Office Suite

The Ribbon is contextual. That means that it will adapt to what you’re doing in the program.

For example, the Font, Paragraph and Drawing options are greyed out until you select something that has text in it, as in the example below (A).

Example of the Shape Format tab in PowerPoint and all of the subsequent commands assoicated with that tab

Furthermore, if you start manipulating certain objects, the Ribbon will display additional tabs, as seen above (B), with more commands and features to help you work with those objects. The following objects have their own additional tabs in the Ribbon which are hidden until you select them:

  • Online Pictures
  • Screenshots
  • Screen Recording

The Slides Pane

The slides pane in PowerPoint is on the left side of your workspace

This is where you can preview and rearrange all the slides in your presentation.

Right-clicking on a slide  in the pane gives you additional options on the slide level that you won’t find on the Ribbon, such as  Duplicate Slide ,  Delete Slide , and  Hide Slide .

Right clicking a PowerPoint slide in the thumbnail view gives you a variety of options like adding new slides, adding sections, changing the layout, etc.

In addition, you can add sections to your presentation by  right-clicking anywhere in this Pane  and selecting  Add Section . Sections are extremely helpful in large presentations, as they allow you to organize your slides into chunks that you can then rearrange, print or display differently from other slides.

Content added to your PowerPoint slides will only display if it's on the slide area, marked here by the letter A

The Slide Area (A) is where you will build out your slides. Anything within the bounds of this area will be visible when you present or print your presentation.

Anything outside of this area (B) will be hidden from view. This means that you can place things here, such as instructions for each slide, without worrying about them being shown to your audience.

The notes pane in PowerPoint is located at the bottom of your screen and is where you can type your speaker notes

The  Notes Pane  is the space beneath the Slide Area where you can type in the speaker notes for each slide. It’s designed as a fast way to add and edit your slides’ talking points.

To expand your knowledge and learn more about adding, printing, and exporting your PowerPoint speaker notes, read our guide here .

Your speaker notes are visible when you print your slides using the Notes Pages option and when you use the Presenter View . To expand your knowledge and learn the ins and outs of using the Presenter View , read our guide here .

You can click and drag to resize the notes pane at the bottom of your PowerPoint screen

You can resize the  Notes Pane  by clicking on its edge and dragging it up or down (A). You can also minimize or reopen it by clicking on the Notes button in the Status Bar (B).

Note:  Not all text formatting displays in the Notes Pane, even though it will show up when printing your speaker notes. To learn more about printing PowerPoint with notes, read our guide here .

Now that you have a basic grasp of the PowerPoint interface at your disposal, it’s time to make your presentation.

2. Adding Content to Your PowerPoint Presentation

Notice that in the Slide Area , there are two rectangles with dotted outlines. These are called  Placeholders  and they’re set on the template in the Slide Master View .

To expand your knowledge and learn how to create a PowerPoint template of your own (which is no small task), read our guide here .

Click into your content placeholders and start typing text, just as the prompt suggests

As the prompt text suggests, you can click into each placeholder and start typing text. These types of placeholder prompts are customizable too. That means that if you are using a company template, it might say something different, but the functionality is the same.

Example of typing text into a content placeholder in PowerPoint

Note:  For the purposes of this example, I will create a presentation based on the content in the Starbucks 2018 Global Social Impact Report, which is available to the public on their website.

If you type in more text than there is room for, PowerPoint will automatically reduce its font size. You can stop this behavior by clicking on the  Autofit Options  icon to the left of the placeholder and selecting  Stop Fitting Text to this Placeholder .

Next, you can make formatting adjustments to your text by selecting the commands in the Font area and the  Paragraph area  of the  Home  tab of the Ribbon.

Use the formatting options on the Home tab to choose the formatting of your text

The Reset Command:  If you make any changes to your title and decide you want to go back to how it was originally, you can use the Reset button up in the Home tab .

Hitting the reset command on the home tab resets your slide formatting to match your template

3. Insert More Slides into Your Presentation

Now that you have your title slide filled in, it’s time to add more slides. To do that, simply go up to the  Home tab  and click on  New Slide . This inserts a new slide in your presentation right after the one you were on.

To insert a new slide in PowerPoint, on the home tab click the New Slide command

You can alternatively hit Ctrl+M on your keyboard to insert a new blank slide in PowerPoint. To expand your knowledge and learn how to best use the Ctrl+M PowerPoint shortcut, read our guide here . 

Instead of clicking the New Slide command, you can also open the New Slide dropdown to see all the slide layouts in your PowerPoint template. Depending on who created your template, your layouts in this dropdown can be radically different.

Opening the new slide dropdown you can see all the slide layouts in your PowerPoint template

If you insert a layout and later want to change it to a different layout, you can use the Layout dropdown instead of the New Slide dropdown.

After inserting a few different slide layouts, your presentation might look like the following picture. Don’t worry that it looks blank, next we will start adding content to your presentation.

Example of a number of different blank slide layouts inserting in a PowerPoint presentation

If you want to follow along exactly with me, your five slides should be as follows:

  • Title Slide
  • Title and Content
  • Section Header
  • Two Content
  • Picture with Caption

4. Adding Content to Your Slides

Now let’s go into each slide and start adding our content. You’ll notice some new types of placeholders.

Use the icons within a content placeholder to insert things like tables, charts, SmartArt, Pictures, etc.

On slide 2 we have a  Content Placeholder , which allows you to add any kind of content. That includes:

  • A SmartArt graphic,
  • A 3D object,
  • A picture from the web,
  • Or an icon.

To insert text, simply type it in or hit  Ctrl+C to Copy ( details here ) and Ctrl+V to Paste ( details here ) from elsewhere. To insert any of the other objects, click on the appropriate icon and follow the steps to insert it.

For my example, I’ll simply type in some text as you can see in the picture below.

Example typing bulleted text in a content placeholder in PowerPoint

Slides 3 and 4 only have text placeholders, so I’ll go ahead and add in my text into each one.

Examples of text typed into a divider slide and a title and content slide in PowerPoint

On slide 5 we have a Picture Placeholder . That means that the only elements that can go into it are:

  • A picture from the web

A picture placeholder in PowerPoint can only take an image or an icon

To insert a picture into the picture placeholder, simply:

  • Click on the  Picture  icon
  • Find  a picture on your computer and select it
  • Click on  Insert

Alternatively, if you already have a picture open somewhere else, you can select the placeholder and paste in (shortcut: Ctrl+V ) the picture. You can also drag the picture in from a file explorer window.

To insert a picture into a picture placeholder, click the picture icon, find your picture on your computer and click insert

If you do not like the background of the picture you inserted onto your slide, you can remove the background here in PowerPoint. To see how to do this, read our guide here .

Placeholders aren’t the only way to add content to your slides. At any point, you can use the Insert tab to add elements to your slides.

You can use either the Title Only  or the  Blank  slide layout to create slides for content that’s different. For example, a three-layout content slide, or a single picture divider slide, as shown below.

Example slides using PowerPoint icons and background pictures

In the first example above, I’ve inserted 6 text boxes, 3 icons, and 3 circles to create this layout. In the second example, I’ve inserted a full-sized picture and then 2 shapes and 2 text boxes.

The Reset Command:  Because these slides are built with shapes and text boxes (and not placeholders), hitting the  Reset button up in the  Home tab  won’t do anything.

That is a good thing if you don’t want your layouts to adjust. However, it does mean that it falls on you to make sure everything is aligned and positioned correctly.

For more on how to add and manipulate the different objects in PowerPoint, check out our step-by-step articles here:

  • Using graphics in PowerPoint
  • Inserting icons onto slides
  • Adding pictures to your PowerPoint
  • How to embed a video in PowerPoint
  • How to add music to your presentation

Using Designer to generate more layouts ideas

If you have Office 365, your version of PowerPoint comes with a new feature called Designer (or Design Ideas). This is a feature that generates slide layout ideas for you. The coolest thing about this feature is that it uses the content you already have.

To use Designer , simply navigate to the  Design tab  in your Ribbon, and click on  Design Ideas .

To use Designer on your slides, click the

Note: To learn how to use PowerPoint Designer and how to troubleshoot if it’s not working for you (it’s greyed out in the ribbon), read our guide here .

5. Change the Overall Design (optional)

When you make a PowerPoint presentation, you’ll want to think about the overall design. Now that you have some content in your presentation, you can use the Design tab to change the look and feel of your slides.

For additional help thinking through the design of your presentation,  read our guide here .

A. Picking your PowerPoint slide size

If you have PowerPoint 2013 or later, when you create a blank document in PowerPoint, you automatically start with a widescreen layout with a 16:9 ratio. These dimensions are suitable for most presentations as they match the screens of most computers and projectors.

However, you do have the option to change the dimensions.

For example, your presentation might not be presented, but instead converted into a PDF or printed and distributed. In that case, you can easily switch to the standard dimensions with a 4:3 ratio by selecting from the dropdown (A).

You can also choose a custom slide size or change the slide orientation from landscape to portrait in the Custom Slide Size dialog box (B).

To change your slide size, click the Design tab, open the slide size dropdown and choose a size or custom slide size

To learn all about the different PowerPoint slide sizes, and some of the issues you will face when changing the slide size of a non-blank presentation,  read our guide here .

 B. Selecting a PowerPoint theme

The next thing you can do is change the theme of your presentation to a pre-built one. For a detailed explanation of what a PowerPoint theme is, and how to best use it,  read our article here .

In the beginning of this tutorial, we started with a blank presentation, which uses the default Office theme as you can see in the picture below.

All PowerPoint presentations start with the default Microsoft Office theme

That gives you the most flexibility because it has a blank background and quite simple layouts that work for most presentations. However, it also means that it’s your responsibility to enhance the design.

If you’re comfortable with this, you can stay with the default theme or create your own custom theme ( read our guide here ). But if you would rather not have to think about design, then you can choose a pre-designed theme.

Microsoft provides 46 other pre-built themes, which include slide layouts, color variants and palettes, and fonts. Each one varies quite significantly, so make sure you look through them carefully.

To select a different theme, go to the  Design tab  in the Ribbon, and click on the  dropdown arrow  in the  Themes section .

On the Design tab you will find all of the default PowerPoint templates that come with the Microsoft Office Suite

For this tutorial, let’s select the  Frame  theme and then choose the third Variant in the theme. Doing so changes the layout, colors, and fonts of your presentation.

Example choosing the Frame PowerPoint theme and the third variant of this powerpoint presentation

Note: The theme dropdown area is also where you can import or save custom themes. To see my favorite places to find professional PowerPoint templates and themes (and recommendations for why I like them), read our guide here .

C. How to change a slide background in PowerPoint

The next thing to decide is how you want your background to look for the entire presentation. In the  Variants area, you can see four background options.

To change the background style of your presentation, on the Design tab, find the Background Styles options and choose a style

For this example, we want our presentation to have a dark background, so let’s select Style 3. When you do so, you’ll notice that:

  • The background color automatically changes across all slides
  • The color of the text on most of the slides automatically changes to white so that it’s visible on the dark background
  • The colors of the objects on slides #6 and #7 also adjust, in a way we may not want (we’ll likely have to make some manual adjustments to these slides)

What our PowerPoint presentation looks like now that we have selected a theme, a variant, and a background style

Note: If you want to change the slide background for just that one slide, don’t left-click the style. Instead, right-click it and select Apply to Selected Slides .

After you change the background for your entire presentation, you can easily adjust the background for an individual slide.

You can either right-click a PowerPoint slide and select format background or navigate to the design tab and click the format background command

To change the background formatting of your slide, either:

  • Right-click  your slide and select  Format Background in the right-click menu
  • Navigate to the  Design tab in your Ribbon and select  Format Background

Each one of these options provides you with ways to make your backgrounds look beautiful. There are however some caveats.

Note: To expand your knowledge and learn more about PowerPoint backgrounds (including where to find free ones online), read our guide here .

The format background pane in PowerPoint

Inside the Format Background pane, you can see you have the following options:

  • Gradient fill
  • Picture or texture fill
  • Pattern fill
  • Hide background

You can explore these options to find the PowerPoint background that best fits your presentation.

D. How to change your color palette in PowerPoint

Another thing you may want to adjust in your presentation, is the color scheme. In the picture below you can see the Theme Colors we are currently using for this presentation.

Example of the theme colors we are currently using with this presentation

Each PowerPoint theme comes with its own color palette. By default, the Office theme includes the Office color palette. This affects the colors you are presented with when you format any element within your presentation (text, shapes, SmartArt, etc.).

To change the theme color for your presentation, select the Design tab, open the Colors options and choose the colors you want to use

The good news is that the colors here are easy to change. To switch color palettes, simply:

  • Go to the  Design tab in the Ribbon
  • In the Variants area, click on the  dropdown arrow  and select  Colors
  • Select  the color palette (or theme colors) you want

You can choose among the pre-built color palettes from Office, or you can customize them to create your own.

Note:  To learn more about how to create a custom color palette, as part of a custom theme, check out this article  here .

As you build your presentation, make sure you use the colors from your theme to format objects. That way, changing the color palette adjusts all the colors in your presentation automatically.

E. How to change your fonts in PowerPoint

Just as we changed the color palette, you can do the same for the fonts.

Example of custom theme fonts that might come with a powerpoint template

Each PowerPoint theme comes with its own font combination. By default, the Office theme includes the Office font pairing. This affects the fonts that are automatically assigned to all text in your presentation.

To change the default fonts for your presentation, from the design tab, find the fonts dropdown and select the pair of fonts you want to use

The good news is that the font pairings are easy to change. To switch your Theme Fonts, simply:

  • Go to the  Design tab  in the Ribbon
  • Click on the  dropdown arrow  in the  Variants  area
  • Select  Fonts
  • Select  the font pairing you want

You can choose among the pre-built fonts from Office, or you can customize them to create your own.

If you are working with PowerPoint presentations on both Mac and PC computers, make sure you choose a safe PowerPoint font. To see a list of the safest PowerPoint fonts, read our guide here .

If you receive a PowerPoint presentation and the wrong fonts were used, you can use the Replace Fonts dialog box to change the fonts across your entire presentation. For details, read our guide here .

6. Adding Animations & Transitions (optional)

The final step to make a PowerPoint presentation compelling, is to consider using animations and transitions. These are by no means necessary to a good presentation, but they may be helpful in your situation.

A. Adding PowerPoint animations

PowerPoint has an incredibly robust animations engine designed to power your creativity. That being said, it’s also easy to get started with basic animations.

Animations are movements that you can apply to individual objects on your slide.

To add an animation to an object in PowerPoint, first select the object and then use the Animations tab to select an animation type

To add a PowerPoint animation to an element of your slide, simply:

  • Select the  element
  • Go to the  Animations tab in the Ribbon
  • Click on the  dropdown arrow  to view your options
  • Select the  animation  you want

You can add animations to multiple objects at one time by selecting them all first and then applying the animation.

B. How to preview a PowerPoint animation

There are three ways to preview a PowerPoint animation

There are three ways to preview a PowerPoint animation:

  • Click on the Preview button in the Animations tab
  • Click on the little star  next to the slide
  • Play the slide in Slide Show Mode

Note:  To learn more ways to launch and run your slide show (including keyboard shortcuts),  read our guide here .

To adjust the settings of your animations, explore the options in the  Effect Options ,  Advanced Animation  and the  Timing  areas of the  Animation tab .

The Animations tab allows you to adjust the effects and timings of your animations in PowerPoint

Note:  To see how to make objects appear and disappear in your slides by clicking a button,  read our guide here .

C. How to manage your animations in PowerPoint

You can see the animations applied to your objects by the little numbers in the upper right-hand corner of the objects

The best way to manage lots of animations on your slide is with the Animation Pane . To open it, simply:

  • Navigate to the  Animations tab
  • Select the  Animation Pane

Inside the Animation Pane, you’ll see all of the different animations that have been applied to objects on your slide, with their numbers marked as pictured above.

Note: To see examples of advanced PowerPoint animations that we recommend using the Animation Pane for, see our tutorial here .

D. How to add transitions to your PowerPoint presentation

PowerPoint has an incredibly robust transition engine so that you can dictate how your slides change from one to the other. It is also extremely easy to add transitions to your slides.

In PowerPoint, transitions are the movements (or effects) you see as you move between two slides.

To add a transition to a slide, select the slide, navigate to the transitions tab in PowerPoint and select your transition

To add a transition to a PowerPoint slide, simply:

  • Select the  slide
  • Go to the  Transitions tab in the Ribbon
  • In the Transitions to This Slide area, click on the  dropdown arrow  to view your options
  • Select the  transition  you want

To adjust the settings of the transition, explore the options in the  Timing  area of the Transitions tab.

You can also add the same transition to multiple slides. To do that, select them in the  Slides Pane  and apply the transition.

E. How to preview a transition in PowerPoint

There are three ways to preview a transition in PowerPoint

There are three ways to preview your PowerPoint transitions (just like your animations):

  • Click on the Preview  button in the Transitions tab
  • Click on the little star  beneath the slide number in the thumbnail view

To learn more ways to launch and run your PowerPoint presentation (start slide show mode), read our guide here .

Note:  In 2016, PowerPoint added a cool new transition, called Morph. It operates a bit differently from other transitions. For a detailed tutorial on how to use the cool Morph transition,  see our step-by-step article here .

7. Save Your PowerPoint Presentation

After you’ve built your presentation and made all the adjustments to your slides, you’ll want to save your presentation. YOu can do this several different ways.

Click the file tab, select Save As, choose where you want to save your presentation and then click save

To save a PowerPoint presentation using your Ribbon, simply:

  • Navigate to the  File tab
  •  Select  Save As  on the left
  • Choose  where you want to save your presentation
  • Name  your presentation and/or adjust your file type settings
  • Click  Save

You can alternatively use the  Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut to save your presentation. I recommend using this shortcut frequently as you build your presentation to make sure you don’t lose any of your work.

The save shortcut is control plus s in PowerPoint

This is the standard way to save a presentation. However, there may be a situation where you want to save your presentation as a different file type.

To expand your knowledge and learn how to save your PowerPoint presentation as a PDF, read our guide here .

How to save your PowerPoint presentation as a template

Once you’ve created a presentation that you like, you may want to turn it into a template. The easiest – but not technically correct – way, is to simply create a copy of your current presentation and then change the content.

But be careful! A PowerPoint template is a special type of document and it has its own parameters and behaviors.

If you’re interested in learning about how to create your own PowerPoint template from scratch, read our guide here .

8. Printing Your PowerPoint Presentation

After finishing your PowerPoint presentation, you may want to print it out on paper. Printing your slides is relatively easy.

The print shortcut is control plus P in PowerPoint

To open the Print dialog box, you can either:

  • Hit Ctrl+P on your keyboard
  • Or go to the Ribbon and click on File and then Print

In the Print dialog box, make your selections for how you want to print your PowerPoint presentation, then click print

Inside the Print dialog box, you can choose from the various printing settings:

  • Printer: Select a printer to use (or print to PDF or OneNote)
  • Slides: Choose which slides you want to print
  • Layout: Determine how many slides you want per page (this is where you can print the notes, outline, and handouts)
  • Collated or uncollated (learn what collated printing means here )
  • Color: Choose to print in color, grayscale or black & white

There are many more options for printing your PowerPoint presentations. Here are links to more in-depth articles:

  • How to print multiple slides per page
  • How to print your speaker notes in PowerPoint
  • How to save PowerPoint as a picture presentation

So that’s how to create a PowerPoint presentation if you are brand new to it. We’ve also included a ton of links to helpful resources to boost your PowerPoint skills further.

When you are creating your presentation, it is critical to first focus on the content (what you are trying to say) before getting lost inserting and playing with elements. The clearer you are on what you want to present, the easier it will be to build it out in PowerPoint.

If you want to get access to all our best PowerPoint training courses, check out our PowerPoint Pro Membership here .

If you enjoyed this article, you can learn more about our PowerPoint training courses and other presentation resources by  visiting us here .

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How To Write A Presentation: An Ultimate Guide

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Preparing a presentation can be a daunting experience. Standing in front of an audience to give a speech can be an even more overwhelming prospect. However, you are unlikely to get through university without having to create a presentation. Depending on your subject, instructors may require you to provide feedback from a group task or deliver the findings of a scientific experiment. Whatever the topic, you’ll be presenting to your tutor and fellow students. While preparing a presentation and making your case in front of them is not easy, especially if you’re not used to doing it, it is a good practice since many employers use presentations as part of the recruitment process.

How to Write a PowerPoint Presentation Successfully

Creating an excellent PowerPoint presentation is a skill that any professional must have, especially in the corporate and business world. The problem? It is very easy to get it wrong. From poor color choices to confusing slides, a bad PowerPoint slideshow can distract the audience from the awesome content. A PowerPoint presentation is like a poster presentation; only that the information is on computer slides rather than actual posters. It often accompanies and enhances oral presentations instead of serving as speaking notes. Well-designed slides used sparingly and with good timing can be brilliant. Heck, they can even make an otherwise good presentation awesome. Here are some tips to help you illustrate why your creative talents are the perfect ingredients for a killer presentation.

Use the 10-20-30 Rule

A PowerPoint slide should only have the main points. Guy Kawaski suggested the 10-20-30 rule to make presentations engaging and captivating. He says that a good presentation should not contain more than ten slides, shouldn’t last for more than 20 minutes, and the content should not be more than 30 points. But how do you make your texts lean on the slides? Draw relevant information from your narrative and feature only core ideas and points on slides. You can use the “6×6 technique” to avoid getting too wordy. This guideline suggests using no more than six bullet points or lines per slide with no more than six words per line.

Write an abstract for a Presentation

The purpose of an abstract is to highlight the most critical information in a piece of writing. However, a presentation abstract is different. Try to think of it as an invitation to a party. You want to create as much excitement and curiosity for your presentation as possible. Writing an abstract for a presentation requires the presented information to be more succinct. Unlike a typical abstract or executive summary, the presentation abstract should have less than 250 words and have a simplified and condensed breakdown. The abstract should come after your short bio.

Write A Presentation Outline

When preparing a presentation, there are various ways you can use it to share relevant ideas. One tool that helps presenters is a presentation outline – a synopsis of a talk or pitch. Presentation outlines help you organize your agenda and create a logical flow of thoughts in your script. They give you a clear path to transition your audience from your current status to where you want them to be. Follow these steps to create an outline for your presentation:

  • Consider the purpose of your presentation
  • Create a structure – introduction, main body, and conclusion
  • Use an attention grabber
  • Consider visual content
  • Include a call to action

Use a Paper Writing Service

Writing presentations can be a stressful process. Students often struggle to get it right and need a guiding hand to help them create engaging and captivating slides. Luckily, CustomWritings presentation writing services that can take care of your PowerPoint presentations. Their team of writers can break down any topic to create slides precisely according to your custom instructions. Besides, the company offers presentation examples and other academic writing services, such as research papers, term papers, assignments, admission essays, and dissertations, at affordable prices across the board for all sorts of projects. No matter your academic level. Whether a Ph.D. or Master’s, you will always get personalized, original, quality, and professional papers at accommodating rates.

Stick to One Idea Per Slide

Like keeping slides virtually uncluttered, focusing on one key idea per slide can help your audience quickly follow along. Too many ideas on one slide can detract the audience from the significance of each idea. By featuring only one point per slide, you also give the idea room for visual impact. For instance, you can experiment with fonts and image sizes to deliver the desired effect.

Include Powerful Visuals

Adding visual elements to your presentation makes your deck more engaging and dynamic. However, the caveat is that visuals used as an afterthought can counter your ideas rather than complement them. Such visuals as nostalgic photos can appeal to the audience’s emotions in a way that a generic stock picture might not. Likewise, using eye-catching charts and graphs to simplify complex information instead of writing out a slew of statistics as text can keep your audience from getting overwhelmed with data. Remember that visual aids should complement your oral presentations, not repeat them or deliver the presentation for you.

Be Savvy with Design Details

A good design can make or break a presentation. If you haven’t got a budget for a designer, presentation tools, such as Canva and Visme, can help you make great slides. Firstly, use color consistently. Bright colors can dazzle, but too many can be off-putting. Use the colors most relevant to your message. Secondly, be consistent with the font. Consistent designs make your presentation look professional. Don’t switch from caps and lower case, Cosmic Sans to Times New Roman, or 10-to-18-point text size. Keep your on-screen text uniform for a more cohesive message. Lastly, format to precision. A wonky line on a slide or a badly pixelated graphic can put some people off, as it looks like you haven’t tried very hard, or worse, you just aren’t good enough. In a snapshot;

  • Use color sparingly
  • Use font consistently
  • Format to perfection

Polish Several Times

Like your favorite shoes, a good presentation needs a few rounds of dusting before it’s all shiny and sparkly. Don’t be afraid to get messy. Arrange your ideas side-by-side and discover new connections that you didn’t see before. You should edit the slides ruthlessly. At first, you may have a considerable amount of information and struggle to get down six bullet points per slide. Edit thoroughly until you pair your message down to the bare essentials. You can also get a fresh pair of eyes to refine your presentation.

Final Thought about Presentation Writing

Written presentations are a powerful way to share ideas – if you create a deck that communicates your points clearly and effectively. Other communication dynamics, such as your oratory skills and body language, can influence your presentation’s success. Nonetheless, a well-written presentation is a resource that your audience can revisit long after you’ve shared it. By applying these PowerPoint presentation tips, you’ll be in a stronger position to inform, entertain, inspire, and activate your audience through a clear message.

How to Structure your Presentation, with Examples

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How to Structure your Presentation, with Examples

Updated august 03, 2018 - dom barnard.

For many people the thought of delivering a presentation is a daunting task and brings about a great deal of nerves . However, if you take some time to understand how effective presentations are structured and then apply this structure to your own presentation, you’ll appear much more confident and relaxed.

Here is our complete guide for structuring your presentation, with examples at the end of the article to demonstrate these points.

Why is structuring a presentation so important?

If you’ve ever sat through a great presentation, you'll have left feeling either inspired or informed on a given topic. This isn’t because the speaker was the most knowledgeable or motivating person in the world. Instead, it’s because they know how to structure presentations - they have crafted their message in a logical and simple way that has allowed the audience can keep up with them and take away key messages.

Research has supported this, with studies showing that audiences retain structured information 40% more accurately than unstructured information.

In fact, not only is structuring a presentation important for the benefit of the audience’s understanding, it’s also important for you as the speaker. A good structure helps you remain calm, stay on topic, and avoid any awkward silences.

What will affect your presentation structure?

Generally speaking, there is a natural flow that any decent presentation will follow which we will go into shortly. However, you should be aware that all presentation structures will be different in their own unique way and this will be due to a number of factors, including:

  • Whether you need to deliver any demonstrations
  • How knowledgeable the audience already is on the given subject
  • How much interaction you want from the audience
  • Any time constraints there are for your talk
  • What setting you are in
  • Your ability to use any kinds of visual assistance

Before choosing the presentation's structure answer these questions first:

  • What is your presentation's aim?
  • Who are the audience?
  • What are the main points your audience should remember afterwards?

When reading the points below, think critically about what things may cause your presentation structure to be slightly different. You can add in certain elements and add more focus to certain moments if that works better for your speech.

Good presentation structure is important for a presentation

What is the typical presentation structure?

This is the usual flow of a presentation, which covers all the vital sections and is a good starting point for yours. It allows your audience to easily follow along and sets out a solid structure you can add your content to.

1. Greet the audience and introduce yourself

Before you start delivering your talk, introduce yourself to the audience and clarify who you are and your relevant expertise. This does not need to be long or incredibly detailed, but will help build an immediate relationship between you and the audience. It gives you the chance to briefly clarify your expertise and why you are worth listening to. This will help establish your ethos so the audience will trust you more and think you're credible.

Read our tips on How to Start a Presentation Effectively

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2. Introduction

In the introduction you need to explain the subject and purpose of your presentation whilst gaining the audience's interest and confidence. It's sometimes helpful to think of your introduction as funnel-shaped to help filter down your topic:

  • Introduce your general topic
  • Explain your topic area
  • State the issues/challenges in this area you will be exploring
  • State your presentation's purpose - this is the basis of your presentation so ensure that you provide a statement explaining how the topic will be treated, for example, "I will argue that…" or maybe you will "compare", "analyse", "evaluate", "describe" etc.
  • Provide a statement of what you're hoping the outcome of the presentation will be, for example, "I'm hoping this will be provide you with..."
  • Show a preview of the organisation of your presentation

In this section also explain:

  • The length of the talk.
  • Signal whether you want audience interaction - some presenters prefer the audience to ask questions throughout whereas others allocate a specific section for this.
  • If it applies, inform the audience whether to take notes or whether you will be providing handouts.

The way you structure your introduction can depend on the amount of time you have been given to present: a sales pitch may consist of a quick presentation so you may begin with your conclusion and then provide the evidence. Conversely, a speaker presenting their idea for change in the world would be better suited to start with the evidence and then conclude what this means for the audience.

Keep in mind that the main aim of the introduction is to grab the audience's attention and connect with them.

3. The main body of your talk

The main body of your talk needs to meet the promises you made in the introduction. Depending on the nature of your presentation, clearly segment the different topics you will be discussing, and then work your way through them one at a time - it's important for everything to be organised logically for the audience to fully understand. There are many different ways to organise your main points, such as, by priority, theme, chronologically etc.

  • Main points should be addressed one by one with supporting evidence and examples.
  • Before moving on to the next point you should provide a mini-summary.
  • Links should be clearly stated between ideas and you must make it clear when you're moving onto the next point.
  • Allow time for people to take relevant notes and stick to the topics you have prepared beforehand rather than straying too far off topic.

When planning your presentation write a list of main points you want to make and ask yourself "What I am telling the audience? What should they understand from this?" refining your answers this way will help you produce clear messages.

4. Conclusion

In presentations the conclusion is frequently underdeveloped and lacks purpose which is a shame as it's the best place to reinforce your messages. Typically, your presentation has a specific goal - that could be to convert a number of the audience members into customers, lead to a certain number of enquiries to make people knowledgeable on specific key points, or to motivate them towards a shared goal.

Regardless of what that goal is, be sure to summarise your main points and their implications. This clarifies the overall purpose of your talk and reinforces your reason for being there.

Follow these steps:

  • Signal that it's nearly the end of your presentation, for example, "As we wrap up/as we wind down the talk…"
  • Restate the topic and purpose of your presentation - "In this speech I wanted to compare…"
  • Summarise the main points, including their implications and conclusions
  • Indicate what is next/a call to action/a thought-provoking takeaway
  • Move on to the last section

5. Thank the audience and invite questions

Conclude your talk by thanking the audience for their time and invite them to ask any questions they may have. As mentioned earlier, personal circumstances will affect the structure of your presentation.

Many presenters prefer to make the Q&A session the key part of their talk and try to speed through the main body of the presentation. This is totally fine, but it is still best to focus on delivering some sort of initial presentation to set the tone and topics for discussion in the Q&A.

Questions being asked after a presentation

Other common presentation structures

The above was a description of a basic presentation, here are some more specific presentation layouts:

Demonstration

Use the demonstration structure when you have something useful to show. This is usually used when you want to show how a product works. Steve Jobs frequently used this technique in his presentations.

  • Explain why the product is valuable.
  • Describe why the product is necessary.
  • Explain what problems it can solve for the audience.
  • Demonstrate the product to support what you've been saying.
  • Make suggestions of other things it can do to make the audience curious.

Problem-solution

This structure is particularly useful in persuading the audience.

  • Briefly frame the issue.
  • Go into the issue in detail showing why it 's such a problem. Use logos and pathos for this - the logical and emotional appeals.
  • Provide the solution and explain why this would also help the audience.
  • Call to action - something you want the audience to do which is straightforward and pertinent to the solution.

Storytelling

As well as incorporating stories in your presentation , you can organise your whole presentation as a story. There are lots of different type of story structures you can use - a popular choice is the monomyth - the hero's journey. In a monomyth, a hero goes on a difficult journey or takes on a challenge - they move from the familiar into the unknown. After facing obstacles and ultimately succeeding the hero returns home, transformed and with newfound wisdom.

Storytelling for Business Success webinar , where well-know storyteller Javier Bernad shares strategies for crafting compelling narratives.

Another popular choice for using a story to structure your presentation is in media ras (in the middle of thing). In this type of story you launch right into the action by providing a snippet/teaser of what's happening and then you start explaining the events that led to that event. This is engaging because you're starting your story at the most exciting part which will make the audience curious - they'll want to know how you got there.

  • Great storytelling: Examples from Alibaba Founder, Jack Ma

Remaining method

The remaining method structure is good for situations where you're presenting your perspective on a controversial topic which has split people's opinions.

  • Go into the issue in detail showing why it's such a problem - use logos and pathos.
  • Rebut your opponents' solutions - explain why their solutions could be useful because the audience will see this as fair and will therefore think you're trustworthy, and then explain why you think these solutions are not valid.
  • After you've presented all the alternatives provide your solution, the remaining solution. This is very persuasive because it looks like the winning idea, especially with the audience believing that you're fair and trustworthy.

Transitions

When delivering presentations it's important for your words and ideas to flow so your audience can understand how everything links together and why it's all relevant. This can be done using speech transitions which are words and phrases that allow you to smoothly move from one point to another so that your speech flows and your presentation is unified.

Transitions can be one word, a phrase or a full sentence - there are many different forms, here are some examples:

Moving from the introduction to the first point

Signify to the audience that you will now begin discussing the first main point:

  • Now that you're aware of the overview, let's begin with...
  • First, let's begin with...
  • I will first cover...
  • My first point covers...
  • To get started, let's look at...

Shifting between similar points

Move from one point to a similar one:

  • In the same way...
  • Likewise...
  • This is similar to...
  • Similarly...

Internal summaries

Internal summarising consists of summarising before moving on to the next point. You must inform the audience:

  • What part of the presentation you covered - "In the first part of this speech we've covered..."
  • What the key points were - "Precisely how..."
  • How this links in with the overall presentation - "So that's the context..."
  • What you're moving on to - "Now I'd like to move on to the second part of presentation which looks at..."

Physical movement

You can move your body and your standing location when you transition to another point. The audience find it easier to follow your presentation and movement will increase their interest.

A common technique for incorporating movement into your presentation is to:

  • Start your introduction by standing in the centre of the stage.
  • For your first point you stand on the left side of the stage.
  • You discuss your second point from the centre again.
  • You stand on the right side of the stage for your third point.
  • The conclusion occurs in the centre.

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Key slides for your presentation

Slides are a useful tool for most presentations: they can greatly assist in the delivery of your message and help the audience follow along with what you are saying. Key slides include:

  • An intro slide outlining your ideas
  • A summary slide with core points to remember
  • High quality image slides to supplement what you are saying

There are some presenters who choose not to use slides at all, though this is more of a rarity. Slides can be a powerful tool if used properly, but the problem is that many fail to do just that. Here are some golden rules to follow when using slides in a presentation:

  • Don't over fill them - your slides are there to assist your speech, rather than be the focal point. They should have as little information as possible, to avoid distracting people from your talk.
  • A picture says a thousand words - instead of filling a slide with text, instead, focus on one or two images or diagrams to help support and explain the point you are discussing at that time.
  • Make them readable - depending on the size of your audience, some may not be able to see small text or images, so make everything large enough to fill the space.
  • Don't rush through slides - give the audience enough time to digest each slide.

Guy Kawasaki, an entrepreneur and author, suggests that slideshows should follow a 10-20-30 rule :

  • There should be a maximum of 10 slides - people rarely remember more than one concept afterwards so there's no point overwhelming them with unnecessary information.
  • The presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes as this will leave time for questions and discussion.
  • The font size should be a minimum of 30pt because the audience reads faster than you talk so less information on the slides means that there is less chance of the audience being distracted.

Here are some additional resources for slide design:

  • 7 design tips for effective, beautiful PowerPoint presentations
  • 11 design tips for beautiful presentations
  • 10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea

Group Presentations

Group presentations are structured in the same way as presentations with one speaker but usually require more rehearsal and practices. Clean transitioning between speakers is very important in producing a presentation that flows well. One way of doing this consists of:

  • Briefly recap on what you covered in your section: "So that was a brief introduction on what health anxiety is and how it can affect somebody"
  • Introduce the next speaker in the team and explain what they will discuss: "Now Elnaz will talk about the prevalence of health anxiety."
  • Then end by looking at the next speaker, gesturing towards them and saying their name: "Elnaz".
  • The next speaker should acknowledge this with a quick: "Thank you Joe."

From this example you can see how the different sections of the presentations link which makes it easier for the audience to follow and remain engaged.

Example of great presentation structure and delivery

Having examples of great presentations will help inspire your own structures, here are a few such examples, each unique and inspiring in their own way.

How Google Works - by Eric Schmidt

This presentation by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt demonstrates some of the most important lessons he and his team have learnt with regards to working with some of the most talented individuals they hired. The simplistic yet cohesive style of all of the slides is something to be appreciated. They are relatively straightforward, yet add power and clarity to the narrative of the presentation.

Start with why - by Simon Sinek

Since being released in 2009, this presentation has been viewed almost four million times all around the world. The message itself is very powerful, however, it’s not an idea that hasn't been heard before. What makes this presentation so powerful is the simple message he is getting across, and the straightforward and understandable manner in which he delivers it. Also note that he doesn't use any slides, just a whiteboard where he creates a simple diagram of his opinion.

The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout - by Rick Rigsby

Here’s an example of a presentation given by a relatively unknown individual looking to inspire the next generation of graduates. Rick’s presentation is unique in many ways compared to the two above. Notably, he uses no visual prompts and includes a great deal of humour.

However, what is similar is the structure he uses. He first introduces his message that the wisest man he knew was a third-grade dropout. He then proceeds to deliver his main body of argument, and in the end, concludes with his message. This powerful speech keeps the viewer engaged throughout, through a mixture of heart-warming sentiment, powerful life advice and engaging humour.

As you can see from the examples above, and as it has been expressed throughout, a great presentation structure means analysing the core message of your presentation. Decide on a key message you want to impart the audience with, and then craft an engaging way of delivering it.

By preparing a solid structure, and practising your talk beforehand, you can walk into the presentation with confidence and deliver a meaningful message to an interested audience.

It's important for a presentation to be well-structured so it can have the most impact on your audience. An unstructured presentation can be difficult to follow and even frustrating to listen to. The heart of your speech are your main points supported by evidence and your transitions should assist the movement between points and clarify how everything is linked.

Research suggests that the audience remember the first and last things you say so your introduction and conclusion are vital for reinforcing your points. Essentially, ensure you spend the time structuring your presentation and addressing all of the sections.

You landed on this blog which means you are determined to deliver an effective presentation but do not know how to get started. Relax! You have hit the right place as we have covered everything you need to know about how to write a presentation. Our experts have worked hard to research and jot down tips to help you nail your presentation. We will guide you to make your presentation impactful and powerful enough to deliver your message clearly. 

We will look at preparing an information-rich presentation, designing it aesthetically, and letting your message get across effectively. You can consider this your all-inclusive guide that answers your query, How to write a presentation? 

How to write and deliver an impactful presentation – 15 tips

how to write a presentation

Now the time has come to take a step forward. Let’s dig into these tips to answer your query on how to write a presentation effectively. We recommend you go through it carefully and not miss anything as every point adds an element to your ppt. We are sure that if you follow all these tips, no one can stop you from delivering a compelling presentation. And your audience will not stop applauding you for your intriguing presentation. So with no more wait, let’s dive into it. 

1. Give an overview to the audience

The first step is to create an overview that helps your audience understand your target or goal that you want to achieve with the presentation. Can you move forward without it? No! It’s not a good idea to exclude this in your ppt. It shows the audience what they can expect in your presentation. It’s crucial as it represents what you want to communicate. 

2. Follow the 10-20-30 rule

This rule says that a presentation “should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.” It is not like you can’t go beyond ten slides and twenty minutes. You can! But it will harm the effectiveness of your presentation. And who would want that?  

3. Start with a title slide that captivates the audience

Your title slide should pique your audience’s interest. Quickly draw your target audience in with a statement that directly addresses the questions you’ll be answering. If you can’t bring their attention in the beginning, your audience may not hear you, and your efforts will not be fruitful. For that reason, it’s vital to make a catchy title slide.

4. Tell a story

When students ask us how to write a presentation, we suggest they use storytelling techniques. You can use these to impart information as it’s still a great way to communicate. People can connect better to stories as it triggers their emotions and arouses interest. Your audience can resonate better with it, and hence it will make your presentation impactful.

5. Be consistent

Keep the fonts, colors, background designs, and general look consistent. It adds cohesiveness to the presentation and makes it look more professional. It makes your presentation aesthetically pleasing to look at, which hooks your audience. Besides, it helps you deliver your presentation with confidence.

6. Keep each slide to just one key takeaway

Limiting the scope of your information to only one crucial point per slide can help you keep your audience’s attention. Your audience can absorb the information easily this way. Besides, dealing with one point per slide will make it easier to explain your point. 

7. Use high-quality graphics often 

GIFs, graphs, charts, and other relevant graphics can help break up the monotony and add an element to your presentation. It makes your presentation pleasing to look at and attracts your audience’s attention. Besides, graphs and other graphics make it easy to understand things.

8. Use text sparingly

A presentation is most effective when your audience listens to you more than reading the text on the slides. Keep the amount of text on each slide to a minimum to ensure that your audience focuses more on listening to you than reading. Write short bullet points and elaborate on each issue as you speak. 

9. Use a few animations

When there are so many animations in a presentation, it’s easy to lose track of the main points. If you use these animations carefully in essential areas of your slides, you’ll be able to get your message across effectively. It will ultimately help you captivate your audience.

10. Embed multimedia elements

It’s better to incorporate video or audio files straight into your presentation than to use a link for these in your slides. It makes your presentation more professional because it allows you to play any of these files within your presentation. 

11. Information-rich

It’s futile to make presentations lacking informative content as your audience will not invest time listening to uninformative content. For that reason, you must invest time researching and planning the content to make slides information-rich. It is a must-follow tip if you want to deliver a compelling presentation.

12. Content flow

To attract the audience, proper information arrangement and slide coordination are critical. We suggest you avoid a disjointed flow of information on the slides. It detracts the audience from the message you’re trying to get across. It even harms your credibility as an eminent presenter. If anything like that happens, your entire hard work will be useless.

13. Engage your audience by asking questions

Who said that only the audience asks questions? Why not pose a question to your audience during the presentation? This tip will assist you in starting an engaging discussion that will make your presentation successful.

14. End with a persuasive call to action

It is the end goal of the presentation to persuade the audience. Ending to propose something new instead of persuasion is not correct. Your final slides should swiftly summarize everything you’ve said so far and instruct your audience on how to apply what they’ve learned.

15. Presentation writing help

If all this seems too daunting to implement, the best choice is to seek assistance from a presentation writing service. It will provide a hassle-free presentation writing experience while delivering an impeccable presentation. Not just that, it will give several benefits to you that you can unlock in this blog.

How TutorBin help you to write an impactful presentation?

So we talked about taking presentation writing help as a tip to deliver an impactful presentation. But who can you trust with your presentation? Our team recommends TutorBin after examining its reliability. It’s time to dive deeper to understand how to write a presentation with TutorBin presentation writing help. 

how to write a presentation

  • Informative: The experts at TutorBin know that content is king. They are proficient writers and have years of experience crafting immaculate presentations. When it comes to making your presentation information-rich, they spare no effort. They dive deep into the topic and collect extensive information before writing your presentation . 

2. Easy to communicate your point: Does it make sense to deliver a presentation wherein you can’t communicate your message correctly? Everyone would say a big No. Getting your message across effectively is the goal of your presentation. Unable to do so is synonymous with delivering no presentation at all. Their experts understand this and will organize your ideas into a presentation in a well-thought-out manner. It will help you explain your viewpoint effectively.

3. Visually appealing: Experts at TutorBin know the power of a visually appealing presentation. But how do they ensure that your presentation is captivating? They do so by keeping a few things in mind before making it. These experts build your presentation on the correct graphics, illustrations, iconography, and design elements. It helps you hook your audience and deliver your message effectively. 

4 . Content flow: Their experts know that a presentation can not be effective if there is a disjointed flow of information. For that reason, they focus on the proper placement of details to ensure maximum cohesiveness. Not just that, they also spare no effort to ensure the effective coordination of slides. It makes the content flow smooth, and your audience never detracts from your presentation.

5. Error-free: Is there a point in delivering presentations brimming with errors? No! Your audience will brush aside your presentation if they find errors in it. It even harms your reputation as a proficient writer. That is why you need to contact TutorBin. Their experts curate your slides carefully and dwell time editing them to make them flawless.

6. Original presentation: The experts at TutorBin know the ramifications of delivering copied content. Plagiarized presentations put you in difficult situations wherein you may face penalties or lose marks. Who would take the risk of declaiming copied presentations after knowing this? No one! That’s what TutorBin does for you. They ensure originality in your ppt by writing it from the ground up. 

how to write a presentation

Other perks of using TutorBin

After you know how to write a presentation, it’s time for you to learn what other perks you can avail of TutorBin. You will be amazed by the benefits it provides you. After knowing it all, you could not wait to order your presentation from them. Here we go!

  • Learn the art of writing presentations: You must want to know, How can I write presentations myself? Firstly, we want to assure you that you can do it yourself. But what does it take to reach that level? Before becoming proficient in writing yourself, you have to examine the work of professionals. The more you analyze, the more you will catch up with it. For that reason, we recommend you order presentations from TutorBin. It will help you learn the art of writing presentations yourself soon.

2. On-time delivery: Let’s understand how their on-time delivery makes TutorBin much sought after. On-time deliveries are vital as it’s meaningless to deliver after the schedule. TutorBin apprehends this fact. It will live up to your expectations by supplying your presentation on time. It will never put you in a situation wherein you regret why you ordered your ppt from them.

3. Emergency help: To understand this, let’s play an imagination game. Imagine a situation wherein you forgot about your presentation that’s due tomorrow. You would say, Are you serious? Yes, it happens! Your workload as a student may put you in a situation where you forget even crucial things like this. What will you do then? Will you panic or lose marks? Let us assure you that neither will you panic nor lose marks. You can get emergency help from TutorBin even at odd hours. TutorBin’s existence is crucial for this reason. It will never let you face difficulties alone and be by your side at all times.

4. Pocket-friendly prices: As a student, you may not afford pricey services. Does it mean that you will be devoid of using presentation writing services? No, that’s not true! TutorBin understands that you have budget constraints. That’s why it keeps its prices nominal, so you can avail of its services without worrying about the cost.

5. Non-disclosure policy: What if your professor comes to know that you used a presentation writing service for making your ppt? They may take action against you for this. But it will not happen with TutorBin. TutorBin believes in a non-disclosure policy, so your data is safe with it. 

How to order presentations from TutorBin?

You are reading till here, which means you have decided to take presentation writing help from TutorBin. Read the steps below to know how you can do so.

  • Sign up Visit our homepage www.tutorbin.com . Signup by using your email id and other details.  

2. Submit your query & references – Submit your question. Upload question files, reference materials & guidelines to follow. Pick a deadline for your homework assignment and click on ‘Post Assignment.’ If you want a live session, click on “Book Session.”    

3. Make Payment- Depending on the complexity and the deadline; you will get a price quotation for your order. Once you make the payment, an Expert Tutor will be assigned for your case.

4. Get Solution- You are all set to get the solution. You will be notified via email/SMS when the final solution is uploaded to your dashboard. For a live session, you will get a slot confirmation message.

Goal realized! You are now equipped with the tips to write and deliver an impactful presentation. We hope you make the most out of this valuable information about how to write a presentation effectively. If blogs like this pique your interest, we recommend you to stay tuned with us. We share such informative blogs regularly to keep you updated. 

We wish you a successful career ahead! See you soon!

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AI Presentation Maker

When lack of inspiration or time constraints are something you’re worried about, it’s a good idea to seek help. Slidesgo comes to the rescue with its latest functionality—the AI Presentation Maker! With a few clicks, you’ll have wonderful slideshows that suit your own needs . And it’s totally free!

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It’s exactly “what it says on the cover”. AIs, or artificial intelligences, are in constant evolution, and they are now able to generate presentations in a short time, based on inputs from the user. This technology allows you to get a satisfactory presentation much faster by doing a big chunk of the work.

Can I customize the presentation generated by the AI?

Of course! That’s the point! Slidesgo is all for customization since day one, so you’ll be able to make any changes to presentations generated by the AI. We humans are irreplaceable, after all! Thanks to the online editor, you can do whatever modifications you may need, without having to install any software. Colors, text, images, icons, placement, the final decision concerning all of the elements is up to you.

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Operation Triangulation: The last (hardware) mystery

27 Dec 2023

minute read

Table of Contents

  • Operation Triangulation’ attack chain
  • The mystery and the CVE-2023-38606 vulnerability
  • Technical details

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Today, on December 27, 2023, we ( Boris Larin , Leonid Bezvershenko , and Georgy Kucherin ) delivered a presentation, titled, “Operation Triangulation: What You Get When Attack iPhones of Researchers”, at the 37th Chaos Communication Congress (37C3), held at Congress Center Hamburg. The presentation summarized the results of our long-term research into Operation Triangulation, conducted with our colleagues, Igor Kuznetsov , Valentin Pashkov , and Mikhail Vinogradov .

This presentation was also the first time we had publicly disclosed the details of all exploits and vulnerabilities that were used in the attack. We discover and analyze new exploits and attacks using these on a daily basis, and we have discovered and reported more than thirty in-the-wild zero-days in Adobe, Apple, Google, and Microsoft products, but this is definitely the most sophisticated attack chain we have ever seen.

Here is a quick rundown of this 0-click iMessage attack, which used four zero-days and was designed to work on iOS versions up to iOS 16.2.

  • Attackers send a malicious iMessage attachment, which the application processes without showing any signs to the user.
  • This attachment exploits the remote code execution vulnerability CVE-2023-41990 in the undocumented, Apple-only ADJUST TrueType font instruction. This instruction had existed since the early nineties before a patch removed it.
  • It uses return/jump oriented programming and multiple stages written in the NSExpression/NSPredicate query language, patching the JavaScriptCore library environment to execute a privilege escalation exploit written in JavaScript.
  • This JavaScript exploit is obfuscated to make it completely unreadable and to minimize its size. Still, it has around 11,000 lines of code, which are mainly dedicated to JavaScriptCore and kernel memory parsing and manipulation.
  • It exploits the JavaScriptCore debugging feature DollarVM ($vm) to gain the ability to manipulate JavaScriptCore’s memory from the script and execute native API functions.
  • It was designed to support both old and new iPhones and included a Pointer Authentication Code (PAC) bypass for exploitation of recent models.
  • It uses the integer overflow vulnerability CVE-2023-32434 in XNU’s memory mapping syscalls (mach_make_memory_entry and vm_map) to obtain read/write access to the entire physical memory of the device at user level.
  • It uses hardware memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) registers to bypass the Page Protection Layer (PPL). This was mitigated as CVE-2023-38606 .
  • After exploiting all the vulnerabilities, the JavaScript exploit can do whatever it wants to the device including running spyware, but the attackers chose to: (a) launch the IMAgent process and inject a payload that clears the exploitation artefacts from the device; (b) run a Safari process in invisible mode and forward it to a web page with the next stage.
  • The web page has a script that verifies the victim and, if the checks pass, receives the next stage: the Safari exploit.
  • The Safari exploit uses CVE-2023-32435 to execute a shellcode.
  • The shellcode executes another kernel exploit in the form of a Mach object file. It uses the same vulnerabilities: CVE-2023-32434 and CVE-2023-38606 . It is also massive in terms of size and functionality, but completely different from the kernel exploit written in JavaScript. Certain parts related to exploitation of the above-mentioned vulnerabilities are all that the two share. Still, most of its code is also dedicated to parsing and manipulation of the kernel memory. It contains various post-exploitation utilities, which are mostly unused.
  • The exploit obtains root privileges and proceeds to execute other stages, which load spyware. We covered these stages in our previous posts .

We are almost done reverse-engineering every aspect of this attack chain, and we will be releasing a series of articles next year detailing each vulnerability and how it was exploited.

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However, there are certain aspects to one particular vulnerability that we have not been able to fully understand.

What we want to discuss is related to the vulnerability that has been mitigated as CVE-2023-38606 . Recent iPhone models have additional hardware-based security protection for sensitive regions of the kernel memory. This protection prevents attackers from obtaining full control over the device if they can read and write kernel memory, as achieved in this attack by exploiting CVE-2023-32434 . We discovered that to bypass this hardware-based security protection, the attackers used another hardware feature of Apple-designed SoCs .

If we try to describe this feature and how the attackers took advantage of it, it all comes down to this: they are able to write data to a certain physical address while bypassing the hardware-based memory protection by writing the data, destination address, and data hash to unknown hardware registers of the chip unused by the firmware.

Our guess is that this unknown hardware feature was most likely intended to be used for debugging or testing purposes by Apple engineers or the factory, or that it was included by mistake. Because this feature is not used by the firmware, we have no idea how attackers would know how to use it.

We are publishing the technical details, so that other iOS security researchers can confirm our findings and come up with possible explanations of how the attackers learned about this hardware feature.

Various peripheral devices available in the SoC may provide special hardware registers that can be used by the CPU to operate these devices. For this to work, these hardware registers are mapped to the memory accessible by the CPU and are known as “ memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) “.

Address ranges for MMIOs of peripheral devices in Apple products (iPhones, Macs, and others) are stored in a special file format: DeviceTree . Device tree files can be extracted from the firmware, and their contents can be viewed with the help of the dt utility.

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Example of how MMIO ranges are stored in the device tree

For example, in this screenshot, you can see the start (0x210f00000) and the size (0x50000) of the acc-impl MMIO range for cpu0.

While analyzing the exploit used in the Operation Triangulation attack, I discovered that most of the MMIOs used by the attackers to bypass the hardware-based kernel memory protection do not belong to any MMIO ranges defined in the device tree. The exploit targets Apple A12–A16 Bionic SoCs, targeting unknown MMIO blocks of registers that are located at the following addresses: 0x206040000, 0x206140000, and 0x206150000.

The prompted me to try something. I checked different device tree files for different devices and different firmware files: no luck. I checked publicly available source code: no luck. I checked the kernel images, kernel extensions, iboot, and coprocessor firmware in search of a direct reference to these addresses: nothing.

How could it be that that the exploit used MMIOs that were not used by the firmware? How did the attackers find out about them? What peripheral device(s) do these MMIO addresses belong to?

It occurred to me that I should check what other known MMIOs were located in the area close to these unknown MMIO blocks. That approach was successful.

Let us take a look at a dump of the device tree entry for gfx-asc, which is the GPU coprocessor.

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Dump of the device tree entry for gfx-asc

It has two MMIO ranges: 0x206400000–0x20646C000 and 0x206050000–0x206050008. Let us take a look at how they correlate with the regions used by the exploit.

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Correlation of the gfx-asc MMIO ranges and the addresses used by the exploit

To be more precise, the exploit uses the following unknown addresses: 0x206040000, 0x206140008, 0x206140108, 0x206150020, 0x206150040, and 0x206150048. We can see that most of these are located in the area between the two gfx-asc regions, and the remaining one is located close to the beginning of the first gfx-asc region. This suggested that all these MMIO registers most likely belonged to the GPU coprocessor!

After that, I took a closer look at the exploit and found one more thing that confirmed my theory. The first thing the exploit does during initialization is writing to some other MMIO register, which is located at a different address for each SoC.

Pseudocode for the GFX power manager control code from the exploit

With the help of the device tree and Siguza’s utility, pmgr , I was able to discover that all these addresses corresponded to the GFX register in the power manager MMIO range.

Finally, I obtained a third confirmation when I decided to try and access the registers located in these unknown regions. Almost instantly, the GPU coprocessor panicked with a message of, “GFX SERROR Exception class=0x2f (SError interrupt), IL=1, iss=0 – power(1)”.

This way, I was able to confirm that all these unknown MMIO registers used for the exploitation belonged to the GPU coprocessor. This motivated me to take a deeper look at its firmware, which is also written in ARM and unencrypted, but I could not find anything related to these registers in there.

I decided to take a closer look at how the exploit operated these unknown MMIO registers. The register 0x206040000 stands out from all the others because it is located in a separate MMIO block from all the other registers. It is touched only during the initialization and finalization stages of the exploit: it is the first register to be set during initialization and the last one, during finalization. From my experience, it was clear that the register either enabled/disabled the hardware feature used by the exploit or controlled interrupts. I started to follow the interrupt route, and fairly soon, I was able to recognize this unknown register, 0x206040000, and also discovered what exactly was mapped to the address range of 0x206000000–0x206050000. Below, you can see the reverse-engineered code of the exploit that I was able to recognize. I have given it a proper name.

Pseudocode for the usage of the, 0x206040000 register by the exploit

I was able to match the ml_dbgwrap_halt_cpu function from the pseudocode above to a function with the same name in the dbgwrap.c file of the XNU source code. This file contains code for working with the ARM CoreSight MMIO debug registers of the main CPU. The source code states that there are four CoreSight-related MMIO regions, named ED, CTI, PMU, and UTT. Each  occupies 0x10000 bytes, and they are all located next to one another. The ml_dbgwrap_halt_cpu function uses the UTT region, and the source code states that, unlike the other three, it does not come from ARM, but is a proprietary Apple feature that was added just for convenience.

I was able to confirm that 0x206000000–0x206050000 was indeed a block of CoreSight MMIO debug registers for the GPU coprocessor by writing ARM_DBG_LOCK_ACCESS_KEY to the corresponding location. Each core of the main CPU has its own block of CoreSight MMIO debug registers, but unlike the GPU coprocessor, their addresses can be found in the device tree.

It is also interesting that the author(s) of this exploit knew how to use the proprietary Apple UTT region to unhalt the CPU: this code is not part of the XNU source code. Perhaps it is fair to say that this could easily be found out through experimentation.

Something that cannot be found that way is what the attackers did with the registers in the second unknown region. I am not sure what blocks of MMIO debug registers are located there, or how the attackers found out how to use them if they were not used by the firmware.

Let us look at the remaining unknown registers used by the exploit.

The registers 0x206140008 and 0x206140108 control enabling/disabling and running the hardware feature used by the exploit.

Pseudocode for the usage of the 0x206140008 and 0x206140108 registers by the exploit

The register 0x206150020 is used only for Apple A15/A16 Bionic SoCs. It is set to 1 during the initialization stage of the exploit, and to its original value, during the finalization stage.

The register 0x206150040 is used to store some flags and the lower half of the destination physical address.

The last register, 0x206150048, is used for storing the data that needs to be written and the upper half of the destination physical address, bundled together with the data hash and another value (possibly a command). This hardware feature writes the data in aligned blocks of 0x40 bytes, and everything should be written to the 0x206150048 register in nine sequential writes.

Pseudocode for the usage of the 0x206150040 and 0x206150048 registers by the exploit

As long as everything is done correctly, the hardware should perform a direct memory access (DMA) operation and write the data to the requested location.

The exploit uses this hardware feature as a Page Protection Layer (PPL) bypass, mainly for patching page table entries. It can also be used for patching the data in the protected __PPLDATA segment. The exploit does not use the feature to patch the kernel code, but once during a test, I was able to overwrite an instruction in the __TEXT_EXEC segment of the kernel and get an “Undefined Kernel Instruction” panic with the expected address and value. This only worked once—the other times I tried I got an AMCC panic. I have an idea about what I did right that one time it worked, and I am planning to look deeper into this in the future, because I think it would be really cool to take a vulnerability that was used to harm us and use it for something good, like enabling kernel debugging on new iPhones.

Now that all the work with all the MMIO registers has been covered, let us take a look at one last thing: how hashes are calculated. The algorithm is shown below.

Pseudocode for the hash function used by this unknown hardware feature

As you can see, it is a custom algorithm, and the hash is calculated by using a predefined sbox table. I tried to search for it in a large collection of binaries, but found nothing.

You may notice that this hash does not look very secure, as it occupies just 20 bits (10+10, as it is calculated twice), but it does its job as long as no one knows how to calculate and use it. It is best summarized with the term “ security by obscurity “.

How could attackers discover and exploit this hardware feature if it is not used and there are no instructions anywhere in the firmware on how to use it?

I ran one more test. I checked and found that the M1 chip inside the Mac also has this unknown hardware feature. Then I used the amazing  m1n1 tool to conduct an experiment. This tool has a trace_range function, which traces all access to a provided range of MMIO registers. I used it to set up tracing for the memory range 0x206110000–0x206400000, but it reported no usage of these registers by macOS.

Through an amazing coincidence, both my 37C3 presentation and this post discuss a vulnerability very similar to the one I talked about during my presentation at the 36th Chaos Communication Congress (36C3) in 2019.

In the presentation titled, “Hacking Sony PlayStation Blu-ray Drives”, I talked about how I was able to dump firmware and achieve code execution on the Blu-ray drives of Sony PlayStation 3 and 4 by using MMIO DMA registers that were accessible through SCSI commands.

I was able to discover and exploit this vulnerability, because earlier versions of the firmware used these registers for all DRAM operations, but then Sony stopped using them and started just accessing DRAM directly, because all DRAM was also mapped to the CPU address space. Because no one was using these registers anymore and I knew how to use them, I took advantage of them. It did not need to know any secret hash algorithm.

Could something similar have happened in this case? I do not know that, but this GPU coprocessor first appeared in the recent Apple SoCs. In my personal opinion, based on all the information that I provided above, I highly doubt that this hardware feature was previously used for anything in retail firmware. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that it was previously revealed by mistake in some particular firmware or XNU source code release and then removed.

I was hoping to find out what was located inside the second unknown region from the fix for this vulnerability implemented in iOS 16.6. I was able to find out how Apple mitigated this issue, but they obfuscated the fix.

Apple mitigated this vulnerability by adding the MMIO ranges 0x206000000–0x206050000 and 0x206110000–0x206400000 used by the exploit to the pmap-io-ranges stored in the device tree. XNU uses the information stored there to determine whether to allow mapping of certain physical addresses. All entries stored there have a meaningful tag name that explains what kind of memory the range belongs to.

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Example of entries stored in the pmap-io-ranges

Here, PCIe stands for “Peripheral Component Interconnect Express”, DART stands for “Device Address Resolution Table”, DAPF means “Device Address Filter”, and so on.

And here are the tag names for regions used by the exploit. They stand out from the rest.

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Entries for regions used by the exploit

This is no ordinary vulnerability, and we have many unanswered questions. We do not know how the attackers learned to use this unknown hardware feature or what its original purpose was. Neither do we know if it was developed by Apple or it’s a third-party component like ARM CoreSight.

What we do know—and what this vulnerability demonstrates—is that advanced hardware-based protections are useless in the face of a sophisticated attacker as long as there are hardware features that can bypass those protections.

Hardware security very often relies on “security through obscurity”, and it is much more difficult to reverse-engineer than software, but this is a flawed approach, because sooner or later, all secrets are revealed. Systems that rely on “security through obscurity” can never be truly secure.

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Agronymous Coward

As you say, so weird that they had all those components to access an undocumented feature like that successfully. Surely Apple need to issue more of an explanation?

Interesting that the earliest affected GPU is A12 as that was the first ‘real’ Apple designed GPU – according to Anandtech ( https://www.anandtech.com/show/13392/the-iphone-xs-xs-max-review-unveiling-the-silicon-secrets/2 )

Could that imply that the naughty MMIO pathway had to be Apple created rather than a throwback to ARM (like Coresight) or PowerVR IP?

Also I see you used m1n1 but have you had any discussion with the Asahi Linux crew? They have patches for the G11P along with the other Apple GPUs and may recognise something?

Does this exploit affect phones running in Lockdown mode?

Even though I don’t understand a lot of it, I wanted to say amazing work Boris for deconstructing the whole thing, wow.

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