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5 golden rules for creating PowerPoint presentations that actually work


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3 page document with lots of information about creating more effective presentations. Includes links and recommended books.

Published in: Technology, Art & Photos
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5 golden rules for creating PowerPoint presentations that actually work

  1. 1. The 5 golden rules for creating PowerPoint presentations that actually work<br />1<br /> Ditch the bullet pointsIt is a historical accident that the bullet list has become the most ubiquitous format for PowerPoint slides. In all versions of the software before PowerPoint 2007 the default slide format was a bullet list. A mixture of ignorance and sheer laziness meant that the majority of users just went with what they were given and happily condensed their message into these omnipresent and rather unhelpful lists.<br />What is wrong with bullet points?<br />There are several problems with bullet lists on PowerPoint slides, here are just a few:<br /><ul><li>They are BORING: Too many and the audience simply switches off.
  2. 2. 393509515240They encourage too much text. How many slides have you seen simply FULL of text. This often results in text being too small to read comfortably. The audience will be alienated.
  3. 3. They encourage the speaker to READ the slides. This is the single most annoying thing about PowerPoint according to audience surveys and should obviously be avoided.
  4. 4. The text driven style disadvantages audience members with visual difficulties or dyslexia.
  5. 5. Most importantly, compelling research shows that an audience simply do not take information in properly when text is included in the content section of a slide. The brain cannot process two types of textual information (written and verbal) simultaneously resulting in loss of understanding. (For more information see the research of Richard E Mayer at UCSB)</li></ul>2<br />3475990701675 Tell a StoryEvery presentation should flow like a good story. It should have a beginning, a middle and an end. It should involve the audience directly. The “beginning” section is where you hook them. Start with the general picture then explain the specific problem and how by listening to your presentation you can solve it for them. The “middle” section should be where you reel them in. It should have obvious key points and depending on the time you have been allocated, you can expand on each of these points with further slides. Finally you land them in the “end” section where you summarise the presentation and lead them to the next step.<br />Design your slides so that these sections look distinctive and the key points stand out.<br />3<br />3925570955675375666019050Use a full sentence as the “title” for each slideThe only text on the majority of slides should be the slide title. Where possible, this should not be longer than 2 rows of text in 40 point in PowerPoint (about 8-12 words) You could go to 36 point at a push. It should completely represent what the slide is about with no ambiguity. This could be a statement or a question. This works because of something called “the Signalling Technique” were by telling your audience where the slide is going, you enable them to combine the new information you are imparting with their existing knowledge. This means they will remember and understand your information far better. Michael Alley has done a lot of research on this area when creating technical presentations.<br />4<br />38087301461770 Fill the slide with a quality graphicThe main body of the slide should be taken up with a graphic of some nature. In the most powerful presentations this is usually a good quality photograph or graphic that you have designed yourself. There are many great photographic websites that can be used to find suitable images for your presentation. Many of these are free (such as Flickr, see attached list) and many you have to pay for. It is sometimes worth buying credits for sites like as great photographs can make all the difference in a presentation. Sites like these can also cut down on the amount of time you spend searching for suitable images.<br />You can also create images of your own. Digital cameras and camera phones obviously make using your own photographs easier. Some of the preset diagrams in the new SmartArt graphics that come with PowerPoint 2007 can be useful. You can also create diagrams using the drawing tools that come with the package. Creating your own charts is always a good way of displaying numerical information (but keep them simple). <br />5<br />3318510759460 Put the detail in your narration (recorded in the notes)By putting the detail into your spoken narrative, you are less likely to overburden the slides. Remember the slide has only one purpose – to make the audience want to listen to you! Many people find it difficult to put a presentation together without writing down their detail. It is often best to do this before you design the slides. Get you main story worked out, write your headlines and then switch to Notes Page View and type in your narration. Once that is done you will be able to design the rest of the slide without feeling you have make sure the detail is there. <br />Use the Publish to Word/Send to Word feature to create handouts which include your notes. The initial layout is a bit cumbersome but you can edit it in Word to look more professional. Unfortunately the files this produces are too big for placing on the web or emailing so you may wish to PDF them first if this is required.<br />Free Photo Websites<br />Edina – Education Image Gallery (need Athens off campus) <br />Flickr – Photo-sharing site (many have Creative Commons Licence) <br />Freeimages<br /><br />Morgue <br />US Geological survey<br />National Oceanic and Atmospheric <br />Educational Image <br />Every Stock Photo (searches several sites for you) www.everystockphoto.combut you may need to register to use some of the sites<br />Recommended Books<br />190508890slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations: The Art and Science of Presentation Design by Nancy Duarte (Paperback - 2008)<br />My personal favourite author on the subject – written well, covers good design as well as structure and interspersed with interesting case studies.<br />19050-383Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte (Paperback - 27 Oct 2010<br />A great book about structuring presentations – again, has excellent case studies looking at how some of the greatest communicators structured their presentations/speeches.<br />1905026670Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® 2007 to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire by Cliff Atkinson (Paperback - 2007) <br />This is a key text for all those wishing to ditch the bullet points and structure their presentations with outlines and storyboards.<br />1905061595Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter) by Garr Reynolds (Paperback - 2008) <br />This is a beautifully designed book on simplifying your design to enable your message to be communicated more effectively.<br />19050132080The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations with or without Slides (Voices That Matter) by Garr Reynolds (Paperback 2011)<br />An interesting approach to giving presentations – it follows the Japanese idea of “naked communication” which is all about openness and naturalness in giving presentations. <br />