Science in Society

How do I structure a PowerPoint presentation?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
  • Include few words or short phrases per slide (no dense text).
  • Some say aim for 1–2 slides per minute, but it will depend on the content.
  • Write proper notes in the notes section. You should not read the slides.
  • Use a map, e.g. to show where in SA you worked and simple diagrams, video clips or photographs.
  • Avoid complicated, dense graphs, diagrams or other infographics that fill the entire slide, especially if they depict academic, technical or scientific concepts. Explain any diagram, no matter how simple you think it is. For example, when you show a graph, explain each axis.
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms and explain all concepts when you speak.
  • One possible structure:
  • Use the correct HSRC templates
  • The title slide contains the title, names of authors, their affiliations and correct branding
  • Using the next slide for a tight outline of the talk is optional
  • Introduction can refer to a challenge ― What is the societal issue or the SA challenge the HSRC seeks to understand? The slides may contain questions, a short anecdote or some statistics, but you will need to hook the audience here.
  • Body of talk ― tight description of research project and findings
  • Conclusion ― Answer the So what? question. This is the take home message, recommendations, thoughts on a way forward and an opportunity to stimulate the audience to ask questions.
  • Acknowledgements if any
  • Closing slide ― includes HSRC and DSI branding and contact details (email address on first slide is often missed by audience)

See these tips for business presentations and these tips for science communication.

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What do I want to share?
  3. What should my word count be?
  4. How do I structure an article?
  5. How can I use stories in my communication?
  6. I need help with language and style
  7. What about footnotes/bibliographies/references?
  8. Tick box
  9. Talking about the HSRC: Are we diluting our brand?
  10. Focus on the researcher: Conveying the So What? and writing a short biography
  11. How do I structure a PowerPoint presentation?
  12. How do I take a useful photograph?
  13. How do I plan the structure of a short video?
  14. Useful links on science communication
  15. I am no digital native and need help with these: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​creating hyperlinks, tracking edits in Word, making edits in Pdf, sending large documents and folders via WeTransfer
  16. Visualise your communication for impact
  17. HSRC events: Requirements for drafting and sending invitations

This toolkit is designed to help HSRC researchers to communicate information about their research effectively to maximise impact.​​​​​​​