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  • This guide on PowerPoint use and the art and science of oral presentation represents a synthesis of the best information available from numerous sources, including my own professional experience. My principal inspirations, however, were a guide used by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Instructional Computing Facility, and a similar “presentation on presentations” prepared for classroom use by Prof. Larry Lamb, School of Journalism & Mass Comm., UNC-Chapel Hill. -- Andrew Sleeth, Mar. 2006
  • It’s revealing that we often speak of “giving a PowerPoint presentation,” as if the PowerPoint slides were an end in themselves rather than a tool to aid communication.
  • These points are true for speaker and audience alike.
  • It’s easy to let the slide-making take control over the content rather than YOU having control over it. An outline will help keep you from being swept away by the creative process of making slides. Creative tools should support content, not the other way round.
  • This slide says it all…which is waaaaaaaaayyyy too much!
  • If you can’t do this, then a slide isn’t the right medium for your content.
  • Obsessing over proper grammar and punctuation in slides ignores their function. Give your audience credit for being “wired” to fill in the blanks by taking advantage of the communication shortcuts that come with a visual medium. The longer you keep their eyes/minds focused on the slide, the less impact YOU make as a speaker.
  • This and the next slide are the prevailing wisdom. On the other hand, extensive research shows that serif fonts are more “readable” because they provide more visual clues to the brain about what letter you’re seeing. This explains why most newspapers use roman fonts for their copy and save the san serif for headlines.
  • Once you make a design decision, stick with it throughout your presentation. Keep your headline in the same place, repeat type selections, color and line rules Clarity comes from consistency.
  • Never use patterned, watermarked or imaged backgrounds.
  • Use of 3-D in a bar chart, such as this one, is not only unnecessary, it’s counterproductive for comprehension. Three dimensions should only be used when the data cannot be effectively represented along two axes.
  • The only thing cliché clipart says is that you didn’t give enough consideration to the use of images. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional, gratuitous “pretty picture.” Just be confident it’s either relevant to your topic or isn’t one everyone has seen in a thousand other PowerPoint slides.
  • This illustrates good use of a “screen capture.” To save a graphic image of whatever is on your computer monitor, simply press Alt + Print Screen. You can paste the image where needed.
  • This image was obtained from a search on There’s actually another outhouse image hidden behind this one. Take your pick!
  • [De Niro fans will recognize this defining moment from “Taxi Driver,” as sociopath Travis Bickle continues his spiral into madness by directing hostility to an imaginary bystander with the accusatory, “You talkin' to me?”] To establish eye contact, think in terms of noting (to yourself, of course) everyone’s eye color. To cue your slides, have the delivering computer monitor in front of you. If that’s not possible, then use a printout of the slides as your notes.
  • Guide powerpoint

    1. 1. A Guide to Preparing PowerPoint Slides in Presentations N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation
    2. 2. Your Slides Are Not Your Presentation <ul><li>Slides focus your presentation </li></ul><ul><li>They emphasize what you think is important </li></ul><ul><li>Slides can keep you on track </li></ul>
    3. 3. Slides Can Be: <ul><li>Visual cues </li></ul><ul><li>Mnemonic devices </li></ul><ul><li>Communication shortcuts </li></ul>
    4. 4. Slides Can Be: <ul><li>Images worth 1,000 words </li></ul>
    5. 5. Outlined Structures are Easier to Follow <ul><li>Draft an outline first </li></ul><ul><li>Then decide what slides you’ll need </li></ul><ul><li>Guidelines for Presentations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delivery </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. No More than One Topic per Slide <ul><li>One topic </li></ul><ul><li>The same topic </li></ul><ul><li>And ONLY that topic! </li></ul>
    7. 7. Fatal Flaw #1: Too Much Text <ul><li>When you put text on the slide, it’s an implied invitation to read it. If you’ve included so much text your audience can’t comprehend it at a glance, then you’re already headed in the wrong direction because you’ve lost their attention, and whatever you say while they’re reading is largely ignored. Don’t believe me? Then what did I just say? </li></ul><ul><li>Of course, some might just decide to ignore your slides, which means your slides are pointless. Don’t waste their time and yours. If the information is that crucial, give it to them in handouts. But then don’t read the handout to them! Do that and you’re right back to wasting time. Oh yes, and distribute handouts before the presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Start by asking yourself, “What three things will I just hate myself for if I let these people leave the room without knowing?” Much more content than that and the audience starts losing what’s important. Unless, of course, you’re one of those people who thinks everything you have to say is of dire importance. Funny thing, though: it’s the people in the audience who get to decide what they’ll pay attention to and what they’ll tune out. Help them make that decision by limiting the content of your slides individually and your presentation overall. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Use the 6 X 6 rule: <ul><li>No line more than six words. </li></ul><ul><li>No </li></ul><ul><li>slide </li></ul><ul><li>more </li></ul><ul><li>than </li></ul><ul><li>six lines. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Avoid Unnecessary Wording <ul><li>Avoid unessential words and punctuation like “a,” “an,” “the,” “to,” “for,” “and,” “by” </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid a, an, the, to, for, and, by </li></ul><ul><li>It’s amazing how much our minds will grasp with the right clues </li></ul>
    10. 10. Phaomnneil pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the Itteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and Isat Itteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey Iteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
    11. 11. Select Readable Type Size (Minimum 36 point for Titles) <ul><li>24 to 32 point for text body </li></ul><ul><li>L imit to three type sizes per presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Proportion type size accordingly </li></ul>45 point 40 point 35 point 30 point 25 point 20 point 15 point 10 point
    12. 12. Typeface Selection Use Serif Fonts for Titles: Garamond Courier Times New Roman
    13. 13. Typeface Selection <ul><li>Use sans serif for text body: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lucida Console </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Use Bullets, Not Numbers <ul><li>Bullets imply no significant order </li></ul><ul><li>Use numbers to show rank or sequence </li></ul>
    15. 15. Format Text for Emphasis <ul><li>Emphasize with size </li></ul><ul><li>Then try font or style changes </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, use color </li></ul>
    16. 16. Adjust text for emphasis <ul><li>Whatever you emphasize, change only one design element per slide. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Choose Color Carefully <ul><li>Use light letters on dark backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>Use the same colors consistently </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid primary colors in proximity </li></ul>
    18. 18. Charts & Graphs: Use Solid Colors, Not Patterns <ul><li>Pattern fills on graphs cause confusion </li></ul><ul><li>3-D effects defeat comprehension </li></ul>
    19. 19. Use Simple Tables to Present Numbers Try not to make footnotes too small
    20. 20. Forget Stock Clipart <ul><li>It rarely communicates anything. </li></ul><ul><li>Art should add meaning to your presentation. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Search “Images” on or
    22. 22. Allow plenty of room around borders and illustrations My little dream house
    23. 23. “ You talkin' to me?” <ul><li>Oral presentation is about speaking and listening </li></ul><ul><li>Speak to your audience , not your slide </li></ul><ul><li>Make eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Connect </li></ul>
    24. 24. Your Audience Gives You Clues <ul><li>Confusion </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Boredom </li></ul>
    25. 25. Slides Don’t Prove Competence <ul><li>PowerPoint slides aren’t evidence you know your work. </li></ul><ul><li>Work on communicating what you know, not on making slides. </li></ul><ul><li>What will your audience remember when they leave the room? </li></ul>
    26. 26. End on a Question <ul><li>Conscientious presenters want to hear what their audience doesn’t know </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>