Becoming more effective using PowerPoint

Many people like to use PowerPoint in their classrooms or have their students create PowerPoints for a class project, but often these simple presentations are not done in a way that makes them effective.  Often PowerPoints are created that are jam packed with text and the presenter reads word for word from the screen, with his or her back to the audience.  I often hear that there has to be a better way to do a presentation or a lecture.  Well, there is!  Here are some simple tips to help you and your students become more effective and keep your audience more engaged in the presentation, which really is the goal of any presentation.

Effective Presentation Tips:

  • Reduce the amount of text on your slides
    • As you begin creating your presentation, create bullet points for your topic like you normally would
    • Then go back through the presentation and identify one keyword for each bullet, as this will help you learn the content and rehearse how you want to present the content
    • Then go back through a final time and replace a keyword with an image when possible.  This will keep the audience focused on what you are talking about without having them read a single word, all the while you are talking to them about what really matters
  • Don’t use themes
    • Themes may seem like an easy way to spruce up your presentation, but really they detract more than they add.
    • Instead of using a built in theme, insert a background image that is related to your topic or use a background color that will make any text you have easy to read
  • The focus is on you, not the PowerPoint
    • Don’t forget that you want your audience to focus on you and what you are saying
    • The PowerPoint is just there as an aid
  • Use the presenter tools
    • PowerPoint and Keynote have presentation tools where you can put in notes so use them

The YouTube video below talks about having a Presentation makeover and if you have about ten minutes I suggest watching it.  The presenter also talks about a presentation style called Ignite, which is doing a presentation in 5 minutes with 20 slides that advance every 15 seconds whether you want them to or not.  The advantage of this presentation style is that it forces you to know your content, because it transitions to the next slide automatically.  There isn’t time to mess around and drag a presentation on longer than needed.

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