How to be a PowerPoint Rock Star — Part I

By Elizabeth Robiepower Do PowerPoint presentations make you anxious? Never fear. Use the following tips and tricks to become a rock star presenter.

The Hook

Did you know the first 30 seconds of a presentation make or break a speaker?

Did that capture your attention? If so, then the hook served its purpose—to “reel” you in! A hook is a popular presentation tool designed to “catch” the audience. At the start of a presentation, audience members will always ask, “What’s in it for me?” Exposing a startling revelation can help answer that question.

Hooks come in many guises; they can be astonishing facts, personal anecdotes, or open-ended questions, to name a few.

Hooks should be delivered within the first 30 seconds of a presentation. After one minute, audience attention begins to plummet.

PowerPoint as Supporting Actor

First rule of PowerPoint: Never talk about PowerPoint.

Just kidding. Never read from your slides.

Reading from your slides always results in an awkward barrage of facts instead of a captivating storyline. Audience retention dramatically increases if presentations are delivered like stories with speech that’s seemingly contemporaneous (even if it’s not!). On presentation day, you should be so prepared that if your file were to suddenly vanish, you would not be missing much (except for maybe a few key visuals).

What’s more…you may want to consider limiting or excluding text altogether. Use PowerPoint as a visual aid to deliver the most effective presentation. For more information, see PowerPoint: A Great Vehicle for Visual Communication.

Always Remember: You are the actor or actress and PowerPoint plays the supporting role.

Use Presenter View

Sometimes, whether it’s due to time constraints or insufficient notification, we can’t be 100% prepared. In this case, you might just need a security blanket. Well, abandon those note cards and presentation outlines. Instead opt for PowerPoint’s revolutionary Presenter View.

As long as your computer supports the use of multiple monitors, you can view your presentation with notes on one monitor while the audience views the notes-free presentation on the other. All in one glance, Presenter View allows the presenter to see:

  • Speaker notes
  • The upcoming slide
  • Slide count
  • Time and presentation time
  • And more!


Above: PowerPoint 2013 Presenter View

Prevent an Embarrassing Slide Show Exit

Ever engage in one too many clicks at the end of a slide show? If so, then you are all-too-familiar with the following view:


Uh-oh! Your speaker notes are available for the world to see!

Don’t be a PowerPoint noob. To prevent embarrassment, add extra slides at the tail end of your presentation.

Stay Tuned

Hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and tricks! Stay tuned for more on How to be a PowerPoint Rock Star. Up next: Part II: Keyboard Shortcuts.


Lissy RobieA former college track star (boasting a sub 5 minute mile) and high school science teacher, Elizabeth Robie is passionate about education and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing with her dog Seamus, and watching Duke basketball religiously. At Learn iT! Elizabeth teaches the entire MS Office Suite.