Preparing Effective Presentations


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How to prepare effective presentations? How to choose images for presentation? How to be more successful through presentation? how to be a better presenter? How to simplify presentation?

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  • Small changes have big consequences. A better presentation will add value to your purpose in many ways.
  • Teaching has undergone a huge change in last few years – moving from blackboard and chalk to whiteboard & markers, OHP slides, 35 mm slides to present – multimedia projectors.
  • Widespread accessibility and usage of computers and laptops has suddenly catapulted the number of people using powerpoints. Everyone and anyone is making presentations. Loss of exclusivity has resulted in multiplication of mediocrity.
  • We can curse the darkness, or
  • This presentation is an effort to spread the knowledge of ‘preparing effective presentations’.
  • Preparing a presentation is like making a monument such a Taj Mahal. It tells a story, it is elegant, based on one idea, is to the point, raises emotions, is memorable and conveys a message, and is also a visual delight. It needed a lot of hard work, commitment and resources to build one.
  • Before starting a presentation, collect all relevant information and data. Now ask yourself – What is objective of this PPT? What do I need to convey? What is my core message? How can I weave a story around it? Create a story. People are fond of stories and humor, therefore they remain the best method of conveying ideas. Moreover, it keeps them interested in the subject. Story shall be very tight and to the point – not a single extra word or frame, as any good movie or story. If you don’t have story to tell, stop and think, it is really essential to make this presentation. You may convey this information by some other more effective mean. Therefore, first thing is - create a story.
  • Story has a background, plot and message. It raises interest make people straighten up and listen and keep them engrossed. To hone your story telling skills, read poems, short stories, tales and movies scripts. Once the story is ready, start making….
  • Slides
  • Main principle of making slides is - simplify . Any fool can make the things complicated; it takes a touch of genius to make them simple. People don’t simplify because it is very hard to be simple. It need a lot of labor, intellectual and physical, which, unfortunately, especially the intellectual one, most people shun. Presentation is not the test of techniques of PowerPoint. Slides are not star of the show, you are. Slides are not junkyard of information, quotes, clip art, videos etc. Like in a story, nothing should be superfluous, not even a comma or a full stop. People come to get ideas not to see animations or get entertainment.
  • Keep slides simple, neat and with a lot of empty space . Like a musician needs silence to create music. You cannot create good slides, if the background is cluttered. Therefore, keep background, neat and basic . Don’t use readymade templates. Don’t copy and paste from other presentations. Use different fonts or color or size, not everything, for heading and body text. Keep a lot of free space – remember, universe manifested in emptiness only.
  • Compare it with the earlier one. Templates hinder creativity.
  • Compare it with the earlier one. Templates hinder creativity.
  • Use easy to read fonts – Arial, Tahoma, Verdana and Helvetica are appropriate. Serif fonts are little difficult to read on PP than Sans Serif. Very thin and very thick fonts are difficult to read on PPT.
  • Size matters. Use sufficiently large fonts.
  • 44 is ideal. Readability usually get compromised below 36. A lot depends upon the size of the hall and size of the screen.
  • Use sentence case – it is easy to read. ALL UPPER CASE IS LIKE SHOUTING, AND DIFFICULT TO READ. Use color or font size to emphasize.
  • Use color and contrast carefully. A badly chosen color/contrast can destroy an otherwise well prepared presentation. Use contrasting colors for background and fonts. Dark background and light font is a good combination for dark rooms, light background and dark color font, stand well in a bright room.
  • Minimize total number of different colors, fonts and styles used in one slide. Keep color scheme and layout consistent throughout a PPT.
  • Avoid fancy slide transitions, animations and sound effects. They distract.
  • Minimize text . People come to listen to you, not to read your slides. Slides are meant to support speaker, not to make him redundant. If you want people to read your slides, send them a word document or excel file. Moreover, people read faster than they listen and, to add to that they can do only one thing at a time- either read your slides or listen to you, they will read.
  • Do some hard work to decrease text. To share a data, a PPT is not the best tool and wastes a lot of time. For meetings, data should be sent in advance, studied by the participants and they should come to the meeting with notes and remarks, so that a meaningful discussion can take place and action plan formulated. Ah! This is not an ideal word.
  • Best is to show with an image or a chart.
  • Better is to simplify. Best is to show with an image or a chart.
  • Better is to simplify. Best is to show with an image or a chart.
  • Make slides progressive . Progressive nature of three previous slides have made the subject easier to understand.
  • A picture is with a thousand words – say it with a picture , use relevant and high quality image .
  • Avoid childish clip arts .
  • Avoid childish clip arts .
  • Idea and image shall fit tightly – otherwise don’t put an image. Image’s color and background color should gel. While placing a picture, ensure color, contrast and positioning of picture and background should gel. See the progressive improvement in following three slides.
  • Ideally, use full screen picture.
  • This image is better than the earlier one as it fits to the idea better. Use the most appropriate image. If you don’t get high quality and relevant image, drop the idea of using an image.
  • Placement and perspective of the image should be taken into care to make a better impact.
  • Tunnel going towards left side, where screen ends, makes a better impact.
  • Full screen image is the best.
  • A quotes if supported by a suitable image makes a better impact. Note the difference in the next slide.
  • Preparing Effective Presentations

    1. 1. Preparing Effective Presentations by Dr Surinder Kumar
    2. 2. Small changes have major consequences Image: The wanderer's eye at
    3. 5. 30 million presentations made each day
    4. 6. 30 million presentations made each day 95% sucks
    5. 7. 50% are unbearable
    6. 8. Curse the darkness
    7. 9. Show the way
    8. 10. Preparing Effective Presentations
    9. 12. 1. Create a story Image: Mike Haufe at
    10. 15. 2. Simplify
    11. 16. Keep background neat and basic
    12. 19. Use standard fonts
    13. 20. Use standard fonts Sans Serif fonts are easy on eyes Serif fonts are a little difficult Script type fonts are difficult to read Funky fonts, a big no
    14. 21. Use large fonts
    15. 22. <ul><li>Arial 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 18 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 24 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 32 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 36 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 44 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 66 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 88 </li></ul>Use large fonts
    16. 23. <ul><li>Arial 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 18 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 24 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 32 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 36 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 44 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 66 </li></ul><ul><li>Arial 88 </li></ul>Use large fonts
    17. 24. Use sentence case IT IS DIFFICULT TO READ A TEXT WHEN WRITTEN IN ALL CAPITALS. It is easier and faster to read, if written in sentence case.
    18. 25. Use color and contrast carefully
    19. 26. Color and Contrast Use contrasting colors for fonts and background. Dark background and a light font is good for dark rooms. Light background and a dark font is good for bright rooms.
    20. 27. Minimize colors, fonts and styles
    21. 28. Fancy slide-transitions, animations and sound-effects distract
    22. 29. Limit text The cost of a poor PowerPoint presentation is staggering. Ian Parker in The New Yorker magazine states that according to Microsoft estimates, there are more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day. If we assume some relatively conservative meeting parameters of four people per presentation, a half-hour presentation on average and the wasted time due to a poor presentation is one-quarter of the presentation time, we arrive at a waste of 15 million person hours per day. At an average salary of $35,000 per year for those attending the meeting, the cost of that wasted time is a staggering $252 million and change each day.
    23. 30. <ul><li>30 million PowerPoint presentations </li></ul><ul><li>Poor presentations cost 15 million person hours per day </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of that wasted time is a staggering $252 million </li></ul>Limit text
    24. 31. 30 million presentations made each day
    25. 32. 30 million presentations made each day 25 % are bad
    26. 33. 30 million presentations made each day Cost $252 million
    27. 34. Make Slides Progressive
    28. 35. 3 Say it with a picture
    29. 37. X
    30. 39. Death is certain, but how and when it will come is uncertain.
    31. 40. Death is certain, but how and when it will come is uncertain.
    32. 41. Death is certain, but how and when it will come is uncertain.
    33. 42. Death is certain, but how and when it will come is uncertain.
    34. 43. Light at the end of the tunnel.
    35. 44. Light at the end of the tunnel.
    36. 45. Light at the end of the tunnel.
    37. 46. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Albert Einstein
    38. 47. “ Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
    39. 48. “ Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo Da Vinci
    40. 49. “ Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo Da Vinci Thank You To download transcript, visit
    41. 50. References and further reading Some good presentations on this topic: 1. 2. 3.
    42. 51. Image Credits <ul><li>Cleopatra and Ceasar painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme : Wikimedia commons </li></ul><ul><li>Chick: The Wanderer’s eye at </li></ul><ul><li>Curse the darkness: dnb-nOise at </li></ul><ul><li>Bear : </li></ul><ul><li>Lighthouse: Osezaki_lighthouse-Wikimedia Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Projector on palm: Ever Win EWP1000 </li></ul><ul><li>Taj Mahal – Yann at Wikimedia Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Story: Still from movie Avatar </li></ul><ul><li>Big size fruits: Avenue at Wikimedia Creative commons </li></ul><ul><li>Color wheel: Wikimedia Creative Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Colorful pottery - Karol M at Wikimedia Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Magic show: By Funny Magic Creepy Show at Wikimedia Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Sad girl: By Ed Yourdon at Wikimedia Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Bat eat frog: imooi 2001, </li></ul><ul><li>Snake eating bird: Free wallpaper from </li></ul><ul><li>Light tunnel: John M at Wikimedia Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Flower: Free wallpaer from </li></ul>