Powerful, Professional Presentations


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Slides from a library class. Please read the slide comments as you view the slides. A handout with resources for further reading, typography, and image resources is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/137409324/Powerful-Presentations-Handout.

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  • This is a bad presentation.
  • So bad. Bad design template, too busy—the fonts, the fancy bullets, the colors. And if you saw this live, bonus animated fly-ins of the bulleted text.
  • You can make it worse by putting a large block of text on screen and reading it slower than the audience can.
  • This looks like an improvement.
  • It’s cleaner and simpler.
  • But here’s that big block of text again.
  • It uses the template of a famous presenter, but is it any better than the first version?
  • Probably not.
  • Here’s one more try.
  • It tries to catch your attention with visual humor and minimal text. It may take the audience a moment to absorb it, but that’s okay.
  • During this presentation, we’ll talk about how to use presenting to tell a story…the concept illustrated here by an illustration of a storyboard.
  • Was it better that time? We hope so.
  • How do you deal with a large block of textual information you want to convey? Here’s an example of a block of text/bullet points. How can we make it more dynamic and interesting so people don’t get mired in the words?
  • One way is to pull out the most important figure and emphasize it…
  • You can then compare it to the figure from the other bullet point. This should be more dramatic than the blocks of text.
  • Another way to emphasize text is to change the size of it to illustrate a concept, in this case the growing untenability of not pursuing mobile computing options.
  • Word clouds are also useful. Here’s an example of one about presentations from wordle.net.
  • And here’s one for a presentation, also made on wordle.net. Instead of giving raw numerical figures from a survey question (which aren’t important at that level of detail), this one visually emphasizes the most frequent answers. Viewers eyes can explore around as they wish.
  • Just be sure when playing with text sizes to emphasize the right words. Does this arrangement of a popular quote make sense if you look at it from a distance? “the we the our”?
  • In most cases, you don’t want fonts to stick out in your presentations. Nothing wrong with sticking to standard fonts. Branching out can lead to unintended consequences. This font (papyrus), for instance, is popular with restaurant menus…
  • …and was used in the logo of a blockbuster of a few years ago. (It’s papyrus.)
  • It’s not the only font that has haters. (On the other hand, if you were doing an informal presentation about children or education, comic sans could be an acceptable choice. It all depends on context.)
  • For additional useful and opinionated thoughts on typography from a legal profession persepective, Typography for Lawyers is invaluable. There’s a website, and the HLS Library owns copies.
  • Let’s talk about images…there are plenty of options in MS Office clipart, and the selection has improved over the last few years. But just because something is easy to get to and provided by the software doesn’t make it professional.
  • This is less cartoony, but still screams clipart.
  • This might be a better option for illustrating on screen while you talk about a legal topic, but in this case it’s not a good choice because this particular file is too small and shows up pixelated. Note that if it shows up pixelated on your monitor, it will show up pixelated on your slide screen.
  • Here’s another approach to working with images. If I want to discuss a SCOTUS case in a presentation, I might go to a Creative Commons image search site (see handout) and find a picture of the court building. Here it is, with the appropriate CC credit in the lower corner. However, if I want to add text to the raw photo, it’s going to be hard to read…
  • …so here I’ve used the built-in picture editing controls to make this image 67% transparent.
  • Now if I put text or a discussion question on it, it’s legible and viewers can still recognize the picture.
  • Another solution instead of making the picture transparent is to add a transparent fill color to the text box.
  • And you can do different styles and positioning for your text boxes, though you may want to be consistent on where you place them throughout the presentation.
  • Sometimes the most powerful slide of all…
  • …is a blank slide. If you really want to focus the attention of your audience on YOU and what you’re saying, you can deliberately insert a blank slide. Depending on the presentation context, you might not want to use any slides at all. And that’s okay!
  • Some speakers are famous for their presentation styles…
  • …and can get away with breaking rules. As you present, be aware of your developing style, what works for you, and what rules should be broken and when/why.
  • Edward Tufte, well regarded expert on the visual display of quantitative information, says: don’t be a dictator about forcing your audience to follow your given order. This example from him, viewers can start reading wherever they want.
  • Likewise, viewers’ eyes can wander around this demographic info as they please, and work on their own connections. Consider alternatively forcing them to…
  • look at the age info…
  • …then the gender data…
  • …then income…
  • …you get the picture…
  • … The audience can’t easily refer back to the other data, they can only follow YOUR lead about YOUR conclusions. Instead of doing this, assume your audience is smart.
  • Exercise: Tufte says to only display the relevant information. What is distracting/unnecessary in this demographics graphic? How could it be better designed?
  • Powerful, Professional Presentations

    1. 1. Powerful, ProfessionalPowerful, ProfessionalPresentationsPresentationsKimberly HallKimberly Hall andand Meg KribbleMeg KribbleHarvard Law School LibraryHarvard Law School LibraryApril 5, 2013April 5, 2013
    2. 2. What we will coverWhat we will coverIntroIntroWhy presentation skills matterWhy presentation skills matterTips from Edward TufteTips from Edward TufteVisual designVisual designHow to find cool imagesHow to find cool imagesSources for awesome fontsSources for awesome fontsOther things to knowOther things to knowConclusionConclusion
    3. 3. IntroductionIntroductionPresentations largely stand or fall on the quality,relevance, and integrity of the content. If your numbersare boring, then youve got the wrong numbers. If yourwords or images are not on point, making them dance incolor wont make them relevant. Audience boredom isusually a content failure, not a decoration failure.
    4. 4. Powerful, ProfessionalPresentationsKimberly Hall and Meg KribbleHarvard Law School LibraryApril 5, 2013
    5. 5. What we will cover• Intro– Why presentation skills matter• Tips from Edward Tufte• Visual design– How to find cool images– Sources for awesome fonts• Other things to know• Conclusion
    6. 6. IntroductionPresentations largely stand or fall on the quality,relevance, and integrity of the content. If yournumbers are boring, then youve got the wrongnumbers. If your words or images are not on point,making them dance in color wont make themrelevant. Audience boredom is usually a contentfailure, not a decoration failure.
    7. 7. Was that better?
    8. 8. NO!
    9. 9. Powerful, Professional PresentationsKimberly Hall and Meg KribbleHarvard Law School LibraryApril 5, 2013
    10. 10. Tell YourStoryBlueberry’s Storyboard 2 by @rodaniel; CC:BY-SA license
    11. 11. Was that better?
    12. 12. Lawyer use of smartphones• According to the 2009 ABA Legal TechnologySurvey Report, 46% of lawyers report regularuse of the internet on smartphones.• 2.3% of lawyers use smartphones for legalresearch.
    13. 13. 46%of lawyers surf theinternet on smartphones
    14. 14. 46%of lawyers surf theinternet on smartphones2.3%of lawyers do legal researchon smartphones2009 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report
    15. 15. Fonts
    16. 16. http://www.typographyforlawyers.com
    17. 17. US Supreme Court by @kjetilhr; CC:-SA license
    18. 18. US Supreme Court by @kjetilhr; CC:-SA license
    19. 19. US Supreme Court by @kjetilhr; CC:-SA licenseWhat does the Court say?
    20. 20. US Supreme Court by @kjetilhr; CC:-SA licenseWhat does the Court say?
    21. 21. US Supreme Court by @kjetilhr; CC:-SA licenseWhat does the Court say?What does the Court say?
    22. 22. The most powerful slide
    23. 23. Photo by Joi Ito, Wikimedia Commons
    24. 24. Photo by Llwrch, Wikimedia Commons
    25. 25. Age
    26. 26. Gender
    27. 27. Income
    28. 28. Number who have kids
    29. 29. Race/Ethnicity
    30. 30. Education level