Slide Presentations

The Writing Center can help you as you organize, design, and practice your slide presentations. We can help you in the planning and outlining stages as well as give you feedback on your overall design and delivery. Here's a short video on slide presentation strategies:

Advice on Slide Presentations


Hi! I’m Mikayla, and I’m a Writing Tutor here at Wagner College. Over the course of this video, I’ll be providing you with some useful information on how to produce a successful Powerpoint and Oral Presentation.

First, here are some presentation types such as Powerpoint, Google Slides, and Prezi. All of these operate in the same way, so it’s really a matter of personal preference and computer software. For example, I made this presentation using Google Slides.

We’ll be going over the CRAP Principles. These are aspects of visual and design elements that can be used for an audience to better understand the information on a presentation slide. These are contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity.

First, is Contrast. This is the use of your color and backgrounds and how this influences audience engagement. So, do use a dark font color on a light background, and vice versa, just like I’ve done on this slide here. That doesn’t mean you can’t use fun colors, just make sure that the text is readable, especially for someone who may have a color-vision deficiency. For example, don’t use shades that are too similar in tonality like light yellow font on a white background. This may strain the eyes of your audience and is difficult to read. Don’t use too many colors. It’s distracting and not cohesive. Try to stick with one color palette. Finally, don’t combine the text and background colors in the families of green and red, or blue and yellow. This might be difficult for someone with a color-vision deficiency to differentiate.

Next, is Repetition. This is the use of consistent visual elements when it comes to fonts and colors. So, do use the same font for your titles on each slide, just like I’ve done throughout this powerpoint. Additionally, use the same font in the body of your presentation; throughout each slide and throughout the presentation like I’ve done right here. Don’t use different fonts on every slide or different color palettes on every slide. This may send mixed signals to your audience on what information they should be grouping together.

Next, is Alignment, this is how we organize our information on the slides. So, do organize your information the way that your audience reads. For example, in Western cultures, this is from left to right and from top to bottom. Organize your text and images in the order that you want your audience to follow along. So, if you’d like to show an image first and talk about it, put your information in that order. Don’t scatter it randomly around the slide. It may be difficult for your audience to follow along. And don’t try to squeeze too much information on one slide. Make sure that everything is spread out is an easy manner for your audience to read.

Next, is Proximity. This is how we visually group things together. So, group similar ideas together and separate the text and images that you want to stand out, just like I’ve done with my two categories: Do and Don’t. So don’t condense everything into one large paragraph. No audience wants to sit and read, they want to watch you! So try using bullet points! Additionally, don’t combine opposing topics, unless you want to show compare and contrast. Keep your ideas cohesive and together.

Here are some tips for the Oral part of your presentation. If on Zoom, or a video platform, check that you’re unmuted before you speak. Don’t read off the slides; know the material well enough to summarize, and you can add other information that isn’t on the slides. Make sure you have clear diction. This means that you’re pronouncing all the words to the fullest extent, so that it’s very easy for your audience to understand what your words are. This is clear consonants and vowels. Additionally, make sure you set an even pace throughout your presentation. If you talk too fast, like this, set an even pace throughout your presentation (quickly), it might be difficult for some audience to understand what you’re saying. On the other hand, if you speak too slowly, set an even pace throughout your presentation (slowly). It might be difficult to keep your audience’s attention on you throughout the presentation. So speak the way that you would in conversation. And finally, sound enthusiastic! This can be done with vocal inflection and musicality. So make sure that you’re not monotone the entire time throughout the presentation. This may cause your audience to become uninterested. So make sure you include vocal inflection in your lower and upper registers.

Finally, here are some extra tips to spice up your presentation. You can try importing creative presentation themes like this one. You can find free templates at sites like slidescarnival, slidesgo, and many others. Additionally, you can add slide transitions to keep the audience engaged. This can be found on whatever platform you're using. And finally, when relevant, you can use images to pair with whatever text you have on your screen.

And that’s all you need to know about presentations that are on Powerpoint or are Oral. Thank you so much for tagging along, and good luck!

Apostel, S. (2019). Prezi and PowerPoint designed to engage: Getting the most out of ‘Quick and Dirty’ pathos. In L. Sabatino & B. Fallon (Eds.), Multimodal Composing: Strategies for Twenty-First-Century Writing Consultations (pp. 81-96). Louisville, CO: Utah State University Press.

Parisé, M. (2015). Color theory for the color-blind. Digital Web Magazine.

Williams, R. (2019). The Non-designer's design book: Design and topography principles for the visual novice. UC Berkley: Peachpit.

Additional Tips:

  • Provide a handout, transcript, and slides in accessible formats.
  • Provide alternative text for images and mark up headings.
  • Use easy to read fonts.
  • Describe pertinent parts of graphics, videos, and other visuals.


The resource list is a works in progress and will be regularly updated.

Slide Templates:

Slide Design for Prezi:

Shawn Apostel's, "Slide Design for Prezi":