1. Practice with and without the slides. It can be tough to break the habit of reading from the Powerpoint--sometimes all the words you want to say are easily up there. The best way to break this is to try without the computer altogether as you're getting started. Of course, you may have figures or video you refer to directly, so be sure to give a couple practice runs with the slides as well of course. But relying on your memorization without the slides as a safety will ensure that when the day comes, you’re extra prepared and independent.
2. Keep bullet points 10 words--max. Unless you really have to go longer, it’s generally advisable to keep slide text down to the minimum. If you leave a paragraph of text on the slide for the viewer to read, they’ll pay less attention to what you’re saying as they try to process both at once.
3. Slide layouts should be simple. You don’t want to overwhelm the viewer with color or flashy slide transitions that detract from the points you discuss in your presentation. While they may not be as pretty, it’s often best to go with simple layouts that look professional and keep the audience focused. In addition, try to find Powerpoint templates online--chances are, the audience has seen most of the in-program defaults in other presentations before, so sometimes mixing it up will take away the connotations of more tired themes.
Hopefully some of these help you as you’re creating your own presentations!
-- Joanna Slusarewicz