Death by power point


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A booklet that accompanies the slideshow "Presentations that Work"

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Death by power point

  1. 1. cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Mike Licht, this online at the ResourceLink blog:
  2. 2. Image used with permission: Frits Ahlefeldt Every day, in conference rooms and offices around the world, people are dying. Death by PowerPoint is the commonly used term for presentations of endless slides, filled with dense text, complex diagrams and poor design. The simple tips in the following booklet will help you transform presentations into tools of communication that will engage the audience, and provide a memorable accompaniment to your message. The first half of this booklet will give you four simple steps to improve the overall impact of your presentations. The second half will focus on specific strategies to aid in the creation of effective presentations, as well as a tutorial for the PowerPoint alternative, Prezi. This booklet can be downloaded for additional copies at
  3. 3. Seth Godin, entrepreneur, author and public speaker admits that he has seen a lot of presentations in hiscc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Thomas Leth-Olsen: career; and is adamant that most are poor. His simple rules for creating effective presentations have formed the basis of what I call ‘First Steps’.One of the common issues withslides in a presentation is ‘cognitiveload’. Cognitive load is essentiallyhow much your brain can take in. cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by DonkeyHotey:Our working memory is limited, and 088/we process words and imagesseparately, and therefore, when a speaker is presenting to anaudience, and there is a slide full of text behind them, theaudience must make a subconscious choice about which to payattention to. They simply can’t take in both. Seth Godin saysabsolutely no more than 6 words per slide; however if this is toorigid, at least try to limit the text to the main ideas. Theaudience came to hear the speaker. If all of the content is on thepresentation, they could have just stayed at home and had theslideshow emailed to them!
  4. 4. Now that the text on each slide is minimised, you have room toinclude amazing images! The content of the presentation ismade richer when it is accompanied by images that engage theaudience emotionally. An image smokestacks belching into thesky is far more memorable than a list of dot points aboutpollution. One key thing to remember when choosing images isthat the image should illustrate the point you are making –design, don’t decorate. For example:
  5. 5. PowerPoint is fitted out with many featuresthat are not conducive to good design.Animations that have text swooshing acrossthe slide, transitions that blink and flash andoverdone backgrounds that distract from thetext simply confuse your message. The best cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by a_whisper_of_unremitting_demand:presentations are simple, clean and free of 366/distractions.Like this! The audience will be relieved to know that all of theinformation being communicated during the presentation willbe theirs to walk away with at the conclusion. This frees themup to truly listen to the presenter – rather than scribbling downnotes. It also means your slides do not have to contain all of theinformation, and can be used to engage the audience using thetips above. It is important – vital! However, that it is handed outat the end of the presentation – otherwise the audience willsimply read the document, and ignore the presenter.Presentations which contain the entirety of information beingdelivered are known as ‘slideuments’. They are a terrible hybridof document and slideshow presentation. While it may take alittle longer to create a document and an accompanyingpresentation, the results are worth it in audience engagementand quality communication.
  6. 6. cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Pot Noodle: first decision when creating a presentation is decidingwhich tool best suits the purpose. The main players forpresentations are PowerPoint (Windows), Keynote (Mac) andPrezi (Online).
  7. 7. There are also mobile apps that create presentations, which areuseful if you are on the move.PowerPoint is the best known application in this area. Amazingpresentations can be created using PowerPoint – Nancy Duartehas created an amazing example of just how far PowerPoint canbe pushed, which can be viewed here. PowerPoint is easy touse, although it can sometimes be a little unreliable whenembedding video, (more on this later) and many of its pre-designed themes and templates are less than appealing.Keynote is only available to those operating on the Macplatform. It performs the same role as PowerPoint, howeversome argue its design is sleeker and it is known to be able tohandle video and music files more capably than PowerPoint.Prezi is a relativenewcomer, but it isgrowing in popularity.Prezi is online, andstores yourpresentations ‘in thecloud’, although for amodest subscriptionyou can download adesktop editor, which allows you to work in an offline mode.Prezi is not based on linear slides, but has an unlimited canvas,onto which you place your content. As you design your Prezi,you create a ‘path’ which directs the order in which this content
  8. 8. is presented. Being a canvas, Prezi is terrific for creating non-linear presentations, as you can zoom in and out to view the bigpicture or focus on smaller details, and the design is not limitedby slide size. A tutorial on getting started with Prezi is includedin this booklet. Click the image to view a brief Prezi on Prezi.A beautiful mobile device presentation app is Haiku Deck. Thefocus of Haiku Deck is to create image based slides, withminimal text. Built into the app is a search of Creative Commonslicenced images, and it automatically places the attribution ontothe image, which is a huge time saver. If you have access to aniPad, it is worth exploring. Below is an example of a Haiku Deckslide.
  9. 9. Avoid using the standard templates, if at all possible. There are anumber of reasons for this. Firstly, they are not original ormemorable. As PowerPoint is used so commonly, the layoutswill make your slides seem just like everyone else’s. Secondly,the templates provided encourage the creation of slideuments –encouraging headings and subheadings, dot points and eventwo columns of information on the one slide.What looks amazing on the computer may not display as wellwhen projected on a screen. The size and brightness of theroom and strength of the projector can impact upon the colours,rendering some colour combinations unreadable. Anotherconsideration is that approximately 8% of men suffer fromcolour-blindness (Victorian Department of Health andSafety,2013). Therefore the choice of background colour, textcolour and the use of contrast are all important.These colours contrastThese colours don’t contrastThese colours don’t contrastThese colours contrast (harder to read?)
  10. 10. The vast majority of images found through Google Images arecopyrighted. When presenting to an audience, replicatingimages you do not have permission to use breaches copyright.Fortunately, there are a number of sources of images you canuse, and these sources are growing.Creative Commons licenced images are an alternative tocopyrighted images. Whereas copyright works on an all rightsreserved model, Creative Commons licences allow the creator ofthe work to state which rights they choose to reserve (e.g. non-commercial indicates the creator reserves the right to prohibitcommercial use of their creation). Images can also be labelledPublic Domain, which means anyone is free to use them. Theseimages are usually commonly used symbols, or images that havepassed out of copyright.A comprehensive explanation of Creative Commons, PublicDomain and Copyright is available on the Copyright and Copyleftwiki.If you have a budget for the presentation,you can purchase images from one of themany stock photo companies online. Wehave found iStockphoto to have an excellentrange, and reasonably priced.If you have no funds, don’t despair! There are many otherexcellent sources of creative commons licenced and free imagesand quality clipart.
  11. 11. Flickr Creative Commons – a huge range of photos all licenced to be used under various CC Licences. Wikimedia Commons - a database of over 16 million freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.ClClker provides royalty free public domain clip art in vector format and in image PNG format. It also allows you to make simple edits to these images.
  12. 12. Inserting video inPowerPoint can beproblematic.PowerPoint offersthree options forinserting video.Inserting a video from file is essentially the same as inserting animage. You browse to where the file is located, and click insert.There are a number of caveats on this simple process. a) Keep the video file and the PowerPoint file in the same folder. The video is not embedded into the PowerPoint, it ‘links’ to it, so if you move the PowerPoint (say onto a data key to transport to the presentation location) and you don’t move the video file as well, the video will fail to load. Moving the entire folder with all linked files goes some way to resolving this (although it is good to test at the presentation location, as sometimes videos need to be ‘reinserted’). b) If you have a video stored as a file on your hard drive, you should either own this video or have permission to store it. Downloading YouTube videos without the permission of the creator is a breach of copyright.
  13. 13. Inserting a video from a website can be problematic. There aremultiple requests for assistance online from PowerPoint usersfor whom this process just simply doesn’t work. The processseems simple:Step 1:
  14. 14. Step 2:This process has never worked successfully for us, on a range ofdifferent computers. The video appears as a black box that willnot play, or there is an error which requires Adobe Flash to beupdated (even when the latest version is installed).Fortunately, there are two alternatives. a) Hyperlink to the video b) Use a third party plug-in such as AuthorStreamHyperlinking to the video means you temporarily leave thepresentation, and go to where the video is situated to view. Thiscan be disruptive during a presentation, however it does meanyou can link to any video on any website (YouTube, Vimeo,TeacherTube etc). You can also link to a video edited onSafeShare TV, so that all of the annoying ads are removed.How to hyperlink to a SafeShare TV video:
  15. 15. Select the YouTubevideo and copy itshyperlink.Open SafeShare TVand paste thehyperlink into thefield. Clickgenerate safe link.If editing of thevideo is required,click customizevideo. Make therelevant edits.Open PowerPointand create theslide. Highlight thetext or image youwish to hyperlinkfrom and clickinsert hyperlink.
  16. 16. A third party plug-in such as AuthorStream allows you toembed YouTube or Vimeo videos directly into the slideshow sothat they can be seamlessly displayed as part of thepresentation.Download Authorstream and follow the directions to install.Once it is installed, in PowerPoint a new tab will appear on theribbon at the top of the screen.Embedding the video is simply a matter of pasting the videohyperlink (not the embed code) into the window, as below.Please note that embedded videos require an internetconnection to operate.Embedding video from clipart is quite straight forward, howeverthe limited range of videos available from clipart means thisoption is rarely chosen. The videos available are generallyclassified as animations, and add little to formal presentations.If you have many videos to embed, it may be easier to choosePrezi as your presentation tool. To embed video into Prezi,simply paste the link where you want the video to appear, andas long as you have an internet connection, the process iscomplete.
  17. 17. Choice of font is essential if you wish to have readable slides. Ifat all possible, choose no more than two fonts; a headline fontand a text font. Make use of bold and italic options if you needfurther differentiation.Nancy Duarte explains font choice very well in her book,Slideology. Essentially, there are two types of fonts; serif andsans serif. Serifs are the small strokes at the end of letters thataid readability – you can see them HereSerif fonts are good for long chunks of text. San Serif fonts don’thave the serifs, and are cleaner and bolder .Once you have selected the font, don’t make the mistake ofkeeping it too small. Even though it may be readable on thecomputer screen, once projected this may change. As a generalrule, stick to 24pt and above, larger if you are presenting in alarge room and some audience members may be seated farfrom the screen.
  18. 18. Choice of font does not have to be limited to those available inthe application. There are several websites where you candownload free fonts for maximum impact. Two excellent sitesare(click on the logos to go to the sites).One thing to note if you are using downloaded fonts – they willonly work on the computer where the fonts are installed. This isvital to know, as many presentations are created on onecomputer and transferred for presentation onto a differentcomputer. If you know the presentation is going to be moved, itis best to stick to one of the pre-installed fonts, or save thepresentation in PDF format, which will prevent the fonts fromchanging no matter what computer is being used.Avoid the overuse of bullet points!
  19. 19. Step 1:Sign up for a Prezi Account.If using Prezi in Education,you can apply for a Studentand Teacher Licence, whichgives you 500Mb storagefor free.Step 2:Log in, and click +NewPrezi.Step 3: Choose from one ofthe many templates, orchoose a blank prezi tostart designing fromscratch.You are ready to begin!
  20. 20. To move around the canvas zoom inand out by using your mouse’s scrollwheel or by clicking the + and -symbols on the right hand side of thescreen.To move the prezi canvas left, right,up, or down, hold down the leftbutton of your mouse and then movein the direction you want to go.The Transformation Tool is the mainway to edit. Once you add anything tothe canvas, click on it once to bring upthe Transformation Tool. The toolallows you to move, size, and rotateyour content. If you add a frame toyour prezi, you can click on it once tobring up the Transformation Tool andmove, scale, or rotate everythinginside.Use the Theme Wizard to customizethe colors of your prezi and to setyour font choices from Prezis fontlibrary.
  21. 21. Frames work like slides and can beused to group your ideas. Framescome in a variety of shapes andsizes, and you can change thecolor of them as well as their sizeand position.To create frames, choose AddFrames from the top-centermenu, or select the type of frameyou want.Place the frame around thecontent you wish to group orfeature.Adding a frame will automaticallyadd another step to your prezi’spath.Quickly add content to yourdrawings, and duplicate them(using the right-click menu orkeyboard shortcuts) to start fillingyour prezi with content.Click the ‘Shapes’ icon at the top ofthe screen to add shapes, lines,arrows, and more to your Prezi .Highlight text with the Highlighter.Jot down ideas and make sketcheswith the Pencil.
  22. 22. Creating a path gives yourpresentation direction. With the LeftSidebar, you can create a journeyfrom one idea to the next. Edit yourpath and its points in Edit mode andtake your audience along that path inPresent mode.To set your path, click the ‘Edit Path’button on the left-hand side ofscreen. Then click on the objects inyour prezi canvas in the order youwish them to appear.Use the sidebar to rearrange anddelete path points or to zoom to aspecific path point.Creating smooth transitions from one path point to the next is an essential part ofcreating a good prezi. Some general tips include: 1. Don’t overdo rotation - it could make your audience a little nauseous. 2. Show an overview at regular intervals to give the your audience some context. 3. Create path points that are not long distances apart. Zooming and rotating from one side of the canvas to another can be disorienting for the people watching.Add URLS to your preziTo put live links into your prezi,copy and paste the desired URLinto a text box. Then click awayfrom the text box and your linkwill become active (you will see itautomatically underline).
  23. 23. Your Prezi saves automatically asyou create, however it is also goodto save at regular intervals bysimply clicking on the disc icon.If you have a free Public account,your prezis will always be availablefor others to view online. The freeaccount for Educators allows youto keep a Prezi private. You canalso choose to make a preziavailable for others to reuse. Thismeans that anyone can use thecontent in your prezi forthemselves.Click the share button to access theweblink and embed codes forfurther sharing.A portable prezi is a downloaded version of a prezi, which you can view offline withouteither a Prezi account or Prezi Desktop. You can use it to present in a setting where youdont have access to the internet. It contains a non-editable version of your prezi, as well assoftware for Windows and Mac that will play your prezi. This is good for presenting wherethere is no internet connection, or for sharing with others who aren’t online.Further information can be found on the Prezi Support Page.
  24. 24. 5 Ways to Make PowerPoint Sing! (And Dance!). (n.d.). Duarte Blog.Retrieved April 12, 2013, from of Human Services, Victoria. (n.d.). Colour blindness.Better Health Channel. Retrieved April 12, 2013, from, N. (2008). slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating GreatPresentations (1st ed.). O’Reilly Media.Godin, S. (2001, January 10). Really Bad PowerPoint: (and how to avoidit): Seth Godin: Books. Do You Zoom Inc.Hooker, D. (2012, March 25). Get Started with Prezi. Prezi Support.Retrieved April 12, 2013, from from TED: 5 Simple Tweaks. (n.d.). Duarte Blog. Retrieved April12, 2013, from, G. (2011). Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on PresentationDesign and Delivery (2nd Edition) (2nd ed.). New Riders.