Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A student's collection of presentation guidelines

Jered Batten, 6th hr geo, collected this material on presentations and sent it to me as an offering for the class web site. Thanks, Jered!

3 Components of an Effective Presentation

An effective presentation must get three components right:
• Content
• Design
• Delivery
Each of these components has to be on the mark and they all have to work together, as well.
When writing your content, decide on two or three main points and make sure that everything else that you write leads to those points. Make your content logical, simple, and clear. Figure out what your audience needs and wants to know and tailor your content for the audience.
Regarding design, your number one concern is legibility. Don’t put too much text on a slide and keep it large enough to read easily. The text color should contrast highly with the background color. Then, make sure that your design complements your content. Your background and images shouldn’t detract from the content. Images should work to clarify text. The layout and size of text should bring important points to the fore.
Don’t forget a winning delivery. Engaging your audience with eye contact and your overall energy is important. Know your main points and emphasize them with your voice and the amount of time you spend on them. Two’s a party; three’s a crowd, they say. If you just read your slides, you’re putting PowerPoint between you and the audience and they’ll resent it. Instead, use the slides only as support for your presentation.

Additional materials:
Nevertheless, if you're looking to create a smart, fast presentation, you might use this technique. Here are some more tips:
1. Let the text on the slide repeat a word or phrase that you're using, no more.
2. Use images that evoke what you're saying, but don't add any words to the images.
3. Show each slide for just a second or two. This method uses lots of slides, each for a short time.
4. Keep the pace fast.
Expanding One Slide into Two

If you can't make text fit properly on one slide without squeezing it in too tightly, split the text into two slides. If the text is in a text placeholder, this is easily done using the Outline toolbar. To display the OUtline toolbar, right-click any toolbar and choose Outline.

Jered found quite a few more techniques that were appropriate for advanced presenters. See him or pursue your own web search to advance your skills.

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