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Design a great multimedia conference presentation

Designing a great multimedia presentation is an art in itself. We have put together a few guidelines you might like to keep in mind when you are creating your next presentation. You will find the following tips most relevant for 10 minute conference presentations. The step-by-step points are specific to Microsoft PowerPoint 2010.

Slide design

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep your colour scheme, tables and graphs simple and well balanced
    • this is important if you don't have a lot of time to explain tables and graphs in great detail.
  • Check if your organisation has a slide template; some companies and organisations like to keep the appearance of their presentations consistent.
  • Balance text and graphics - a photo image often personalises a presentation, however, too many can detract from it.
  • Use contrasting colours for text and background to ensure your text is legible.

Check point
Be creative but avoid the overuse of clip art and animation. It detracts from the focus of your presentation, and the audience will walk away remembering the animation, not your main messages.

Font type & size

  • Use sans serif fonts e.g. Calibri or Arial. A sans serif font is one without the bits on the end of the letters. They are easier to read on-screen and from distances.
  • If you are in a large lecture theatre, you may have to increase your font size. The text should be large enough to be seen by the people in the back row.
  • Font size should never be smaller than 20pt.

When using unusual or decorative fonts remember to embed them so they are saved within the slides: File > Save As > Tools > Save > Options > Embed fonts in the file > click OK and continue saving normally.

Number of slides

  • Aim for an average of one slide per minute
    • some slides take longer to present, particularly graphs and tables
    • aim for a maximum of 12 slides for a 10 minute presentation
  • Use a minimum of 30 seconds per slide, to make sure the audience has had enough time to grasp the key concepts.
  • To keep the presentation focused on your main messages, avoid too many slides.

Check point
If your slides were viewed (e.g. downloaded from the website) without your presentation, would they portray the main messages?

666 Guide
6 bullets per slide
6 words per bullet
6 bullet slides in a row (max)

Tech specs

  • Presentations containing pictures and multimedia can be quite large, and it can be important to compress the file size: select any of the pictures, Format > Compress Pictures > you can choose to compress just that picture or all pictures > click OK.
  • You can save your presentation to the web: File > Save & Send > Save to Web > Specify a Web server > Save As.
  • If your presentation contains movies or sounds, these files won't be saved in the presentation. You will need to save the original source in the same folder or on the same USB memory stick on which you have saved your presentation.
  • During your presentation you can move among your slides by typing in the number of the slide and pressing Enter.

Slide content

  • Your first slide should include:
    • the title of your presentation
    • your name
    • your organisation
    • the date and event you are presenting at.
  • Focus on your audience and what they would like to hear - in a short presentation, it may be the results rather than the process that is most relevant.
  • Keep the information on each slide concise. Use dot points where possible.
  • Consider using colours to emphasise your key points in the text.
  • Keep abbreviations and acronyms to a minimum. Always write the full name out the first time you use them.
  • Have a concluding slide that covers the key messages.
  • Present research implications for the specific audience.
  • Include a slide with your contact details at the end of the presentation.
  • Number your slides: To apply slide numbers go to Insert > Slide Number > select Slide number and Footer > Apply to all.

Consider a Prezi presentation - the zoomable canvas makes presentations fun!


  • Bring your presentation on multiple forms of media to avoid conversion problems:
    • USB memory stick
    • Cloud e.g., Dropbox
    • CD.
  • Before your presentation check your slides on the computer you will be using. Check for inconsistencies, formatting and spelling errors. Note that some decorative fonts may revert to a default font.
  • Keep an eye on the audiences' body language, it will let you know to move on or create more interest and excitement.
  • See Resources for more information on Oral Presentations.

Become familiar with the area in which you will give your presentation. How big is it? Will you need to raise your voice? Can the lighting be changed for your particular needs?

Useful PHCRIS resources

How to communicate your research to decision-makers

How to publish your research

How to deliver oral presentations

Other resources

10 best PowerPoint alternatives

18 tips to improve your presentation skills


View webpage Free PowerPoint templates

View webpageHow to create a PowerPoint presentation

View webpage Microsoft Office templates & themes

The PowerPoint FAQ

View webpage Tips for creating and delivering an effective presentation

View webpage Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes

Fact Sheet

A summary version of this information is available in a two-page colour PHCRIS Fact Sheet

  • Download the PDF [871.6KB]


Was this guide useful? We welcome your comments and suggestions, please use the feedback form and let us know what you think.

Compiled by PHCRIS
Last updated Thu 26 Oct 2017
Suggested citation
Primary Health Care Research & Information Service (2017). PHCRIS Getting Started Guides: How to... Design a great multimedia conference presentation. From (Accessed 19 Nov 2017)