Power point presentations have never been anything but a pain, to watch, to present, and to create. I have been guilty many times in middle through high school of creating terribly painful power points for my classmates to sit through. I have endured many of theirs as well however, so I would call the score even. I recall vividly a teacher I had my sophomore year of high school required the class to have each bullet point transition on and off the screen. Besides the fact that having to do that was time consuming, everyone’s presentations seemed both messy and empty at the same time.
Though, as we age the better our power points become. They’re less cluttered, we no longer enjoy the flashy transitions between slides and bullet points. The older we get the more we become aware of the age old truth “less is more”. It is best, we find out to not put paragraphs on our slides, and sometimes no text at all is necessary. Sometimes on a slide just a simple image to go along with what you are saying will suffice. At the same time, there does not have to be an image on every slide, and the power point does not have to have a fancy template.
I am sure everyone has sat through a class where all the teacher does is read the power point (that he/she has posted to blackboard or moodle) word for word. In such classes you find yourself wondering: “why am I even here when I can just read this on my own time?” Perhaps THE key to making a good power point is having only the key point that the audience is to focus on, on the screen. Sometimes in the form of one sentences, one word, or a number. Another key point that is very important to remember in giving a good power point presentation is not to stay on one slide for too long. Keep the presentation moving, give the audience something new to look at so they don’t nod off or lose interest.
I have an anatomy class this term where I can hardly listen to what the professor is saying because he is moving so fast that I am too busy hurriedly scribbling notes into my notebook to even catch the entire lecture. I later come to the realization that my notes are hardly legible even to myself because I was writing so fast. So, as important as it is to keep the presentation moving it is also important to move at a manageable speed for your audience to be able to hear and comprehend everything that is important in the lesson.
There is such a phenomally large list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to presentations that I have linked this article to my post. I will give a quick summation of the points here though.
1. Have a high single to noise ratio. Which basically means that people have a hard time coping with large amounts of images bombarding their vision, it’s best to keep it simple.
2. Follow the 1-7-7 rule: One main point per slide, no more than seven bullet points per slide, and no more than seven words per line.
3. Pictures are remembered better than words.
4. When putting a quote on a slide make sure it is short since it is rather exhausting to listen to a presenter read a paragraph or two off the slide.
5. Empty space shows both elegance and style, and is a very important visual affect.
6. Balance is important. A well balanced presentation or slide has one clear, meaningful point, a clear starting position, and easily guides the viewer through the argument.
7. Contrast, the brain is wired to notice differences.
8. Repetition, is an easy one, keep using the same words and mention the important points you want remembered over and over again.
9. Alignment, make sure nothing on your slide looks like it was place there randomly and without thought. Your slides should appear put together and purposeful.
10. Proximity, the whole goal of this is to place things either closer or farther apart in order to make the slide look more organized.
You can find the author’s summary on page 43 of the chapter.