PowerPoint Presentations Center for Languages and Cultures University of the Sacred Heart
The 7 Step Process – All presentations go through the same seven steps (p.5)
Define your purpose Inform Persuade Entertain To share new To change or reinforce To amuse with humor information an attitude, belief or and anecdotes behavior • They can overlap (Example: you may want to inform and entertain at the same time) • Your primary purpose should influence: the tone, content and structure of your presentation. Tone The Purpose Structure of the presentation Content
• The purpose: what you want your audience to remember and do as a result of hearing you. • It has to be specific; not broad. • An informative presentation must always: o Grab and hold your audience’s interest. o Get the audience to retain your key points • The information has to be fresh, practical and relevant. o Use new and useful information • Strong, logical, clear sequence of ideas – presented in an easy to remember pattern. • Present in small, digestible chunks (3-‐5 keypoints you want your audience to remember).
• To be able to profile your audience, you must ask yourself three questions: Profile your audience Knowledge Interest Support What does my How interested is How much support audience know the audience in my already exists for my about the topic I subject? views? want to talk about? • Build credibility by citing experts whom the audience respects • Avoid hypothetical examples – use solid, concrete, real life facts • Keep it simple and clear – limit your points to three clear, compelling messages • Create an emotional link – something that your audience can relate to • Don’t drown them in data • Be interactive – encourage the audience to ask questions and participate
• Map and structure your story (p.27-‐29) 1. Preview – introduction (10 – 15 % of time) a) Hook – grab attention b) Positioning Statement – benefit statement selling advantages of listening c) Overview – key points 2. View – body (80-‐85% of time) a) Supporting statement 1 -‐ Evidence/illustration b) Supporting statement 2 -‐ Evidence/illustration c) Supporting statement 3 -‐ Evidence/illustration 3. Review – conclusion (5% of time) a) Recap – summary of positioning statement b) Memorable conclusion c) Call to action: request for commitment • Titles and headlines are used to create flow and direction 1. Titles should challenge your viewers to sit up and pay attention
2. The headline must capture the essence of the slide and should summarize the key point. • 3 functions of an opening: 1. Grab the audience’s attention – hook the audience into listening 2. Provide reasons for listening (positioning statement) 3. Describe what you’ll talk about • Functions of the body: o Support each point with evidence o Use the latest information • Parts of the conclusion: o Summarize your presentation – recap key points o Provide closure – end purposefully o Motivate the audience to respond – present a call to action. If your presentation is informative, you may want the audience to reflect on the issues or go and do research. • Use transition words o It is imperative that you use verbal transition words and statements to lead your listeners smoothly from one section or idea to the next. o Purpose of transition words: 1. Provide mini internal summaries 2. Help hold your audience’s attention • Organizational patterns o Sequential o Topical order o Contrast and comparison
• All presentations need support – stories, statistics, and facts – that you use to prove and illustrate your points. • Importance of visuals: 1. Visuals increase persuasion – 75% of what we learn comes to us visually. Great visuals are attention grabbers. 2. Visuals increase retention. Listeners may forget a speaker’s words within minutes of leaving the presentation but they can remember a picture – in detail – weeks later. 3. Simplify concepts – visuals make information easy to digest. • Use a variety of different types of evidence. Some people like stories and quotes; others prefer statistics and graphical support. (It will all depend on your type of audience). • Quotes must always make a point – irrelevant quotes weaken your impact. • When using statistics and graphs, make your numbers understandable and use comparisons. • Make the last item in your list your most important • Determine your message first – the prime purpose is to communicate a persuasive message, not to dazzle with graphic effects. • Think K.I.S.S. (Keep it Short and Simple). With visuals, less is more. • Organize your content around 3-‐5 points. Most audiences struggle to remember more than five points.
• Audiences admire, listen to, and are influenced by presenters who respect them and their time by rehearsing until they are word, picture, and time perfect. • Practicing for perfection: 1. Practice until you’re supremely confident. You can’t over-‐practice. Every time you practice you’ll find something to improve. (LAD) 2. Rehearse out loud. Silent practice never works because when you rehearse in silence you never make a mistake. (LAD) 3. Seek feedback. After two or three practice sessions alone, ask a friend or colleague for feedback. (LAD) 4. Videotape your address. It’s the best way to observe your vocal and physical mannerisms and your use of technology. (LAD) • Time your presentations to make sure your presentation is the right length. • Always practice standing up so you can practice your gestures as well as your words. • Use key words and key phrases • Write statistics and quotes
• Speak to the audience not to the screen. • Don’t read you text points out loud • Posture don’ts: 1. Don’t lean on the podium 2. Don’t put your hands on your hips 3. Don’t fold your arms 4. Don’t sway 5. Don’t clasp your hands behind your back 6. Don’t stand in the fig leaf position • Choose the right words with great precision. The right words can move people to agreement. The wrong words can result in deadlock and animosity. • Avoid fillers. Powerless speakers hesitate a lot and rely on fillers like “uh”, “umm”, and “well”. • Vary your pace to generate interest. If you speak slowly, consciously speed up from time to time. • Control the loudness. Vary your volume by stressing the most important words and phrases. • Sharpen your articulation. Clear crisp words convey confidence and competence. • Evaluate and pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. • Practice with a colleague or friend who you know will give you honest feedback. • Don’t try to fix everything at once. Pick one or two items to work on each time.
• There are six high-‐impact PowerPoint persuasion strategies. 1. Align the PowerPoint with the way the brain works. o The visual channel processes information that transmits through the eyes such as diagrams, animation, video, and on-‐screen text. o The verbal channel processes information that comes through the ears such as speech and non-‐verbal sounds. 2. Segment your story into visually digestible bites o Try not to present too much, too fast. o Viewers absorb information when it is presented as scannable, bite-‐sized chunks. o A viewer should be able to scan and digest the core content of your slide in less than ten seconds. 3. Signpost location and direction with graphic organizers o Give your viewers a sense of time, place and direction by incorporating a graphic organizer into your presentation. o Types of graphic organizers (p.96) 4. Wherever possible, persuade with visuals o Visuals increase memorability. o Most listeners forget what a speaker says within minutes of leaving the presentation. But they do remember a visual – in graphic detail – weeks, even months later. 5. Purge all but essential text and audiovisual effects o In PowerPoint, less is more. o On-‐screen text should be kept to an absolute minimum. o Adding extra sounds/music or using too many pictures or animations may distract the audience and divert their attention away from the central message toward irrelevant material. o Cut all on-‐screen text that you intend to narrate. Use key phrases or slogans. o Remove all audiovisual elements that do not support your central message. 6. Dice and sequence complex visuals o Complex diagrams presented as PowerPoint confuse most audiences. o If the diagram or graph consists of five or more component parts, present the diagram as five separate slides. o It takes the same amount of time to present five points on a slide as it does to present one point on five slides. Nevertheless, this will help you to take control of what the audience watches and the order of the points you wish to make.
• Color can add impact, create interest, and focus the eye. • We use color to inform or persuade. • Colors can evoke emotions or stimulate an emotional response. • The biggest mistake presenters make with colors is to use too many. This can cause confusion. • To unify your presentation, it usually pays to use the same background color for all of your visuals. • Different meanings of colors (p.105). • Tailor your colors to your audience. Different colors mean different things to different audiences. A skilled presenter will tailor the presentation colors to cater the biases of the audience. • For sharp, readable PowerPoint slides, your background and foreground colors should contrast. o This means you should use: • Light text on a dark background or dark text on a light background. o Also, you should avoid using: • Similar text and background colors • Dark text on a dark background color
• Slideshows that consist of endless bulleted text are persuasion killers. • Avoid using multiple typefaces • Preferably, you should use: Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, Verdana or Georgia. • You can use two typefaces where you want to add variety and contrast. For example, you can use the first for the headlines and the second for the body. • A type that is to large looks ugly and clumsy. On the other hand, a type that is too small looks cramped and can’t be read. • Font sizes: o Titles 48 to 40 points o Subtitles 24 to 36 points o Text 18 to 24 points • Sometimes single line spacing could look cramped. Increase the spacing to 1.2 or 1.5 points if your line length is longer than eight words. The extra line spacing makes it easier for the viewer to separate individual words. • Bold text is the most useful special effect. It’s a great way to highlight key words or points. • Italicized text looks great on the computer screen but is often unreadable when projected. • Bulleted text helps us: o Break up blocks of information into scannable links o Focus our attention o Organize our content into a logical order o Add structure to layout • The fundamentals for bullet use are: o Limit your list length to six or fewer points. Lists with more than six items look cramped and crowded. o One list per slide. Multiple lists confuse audiences. o If your bulleted points are no more than one line in length, keep spacing at the “1 line” spacing option in PowerPoint. • Make your bullets the same size as the text type • Word lists should rarely if ever be written as full sentences, but as short, punchy statements • Place the most important points at the top of the list • Slash all unnecessary words • Capitalize the first letter in a list but never use all caps for an entire entry or list.
• Select the appropriate chart – choose the best graph form by pinpointing the relationship you want to emphasize. • Types of charts: o Pie charts – used for percentages and to illustrate any proportional relationship between segment and a whole pie. o Horizontal bar charts – useful when you want to compare the size or magnitude of a group of items. o Vertical or column charts – ideal when you want to compare changes in data over time o Line charts – the most popular of all chart forms. Ideal when you want to plot or highlight a trend in the data. These are the easiest to interpret and are useful when you want to plot over multiple or extended periods of time. o Area charts – useful when you want to compare a change in quantities over time. o Dot charts (or scatter diagrams) – show whether or not the relationship between two variables follows an expected pattern. o Tables – charts with data arranged in rows and columns to allow side-‐by-‐side comparisons. Often the best way to communicate masses of numbers and data for which graphing would be inappropriate.
• Audiences admire and respect a presenter who goes the extra mile to make their lives easier and more enjoyable by using diagrams, photos, and images. • DIAGRAMS: o Diagrams are often the best way to simplify and visualize complex systems and processes. o The ideal diagram does three things: Informs Explains Simplifies o Keep it simple. The musts for diagrams are simplicity and clarity. o Use the thirty-‐second test. If you can’t understand a diagram in thirty seconds, it’s usually too complicated. o Break complicated diagrams into multiple parts. • ART AND ILLUSTRATIONS: o Adding art and illustrations can dramatically increase your impact and persuasiveness o The visual effect of an illustration helps your viewers remember and understand your message much more quickly. o The key to illustrations and artwork is to choose the right image. o To create impact, a photo or image must reinforce the central message or illustrate an important point in your slide. Your images should tie in with your general storyline.
References Mills, H. (2007). Power Points!: how to design and deliver presentations that sizzle and sell. New York: AMACOM.