Dos and don’ts: PowerPoint presentations
Probably all of us have done some PowerPoint presentations for our project. But do we know how to make them stand out? We’ve prepared an accessible, step-by-step guide which will help you to get the most out of PowerPoint (or any similar program), and in combination with our previous article, will, hopefully, lead you to make a perfect oral presentation.
Choose the best (audio) visual support
Before starting, consider that PowerPoint isn’t the only program you can use and a slide-show presentation isn’t the only form of relief neither. Play with videos, sounds, music, images, colors or with some physical material, such as samples, photographs…, using a blackboard isn’t a step back neither. And remember that you don’t have to use all of them nor you have to use one at all.
Adjust your presentation to the circumstances
In case you’ve decided that a slide-show presentation is the one which will work the best, make sure it matches all the elements. To achieve that, imagine you’re a part of your audience. What would you like to see, in which way, for how long? Would it be boring? Would it be useful? Does it match the purpose of the project?
Always use some front and backslide
You still have to introduce your work. We pretty much know what should be used in the front page, but make sure you also close your presentation with some last slide, where you can put the well known “Thank you for your attention”. Although it’s some courtesy, if that sounds too cliché for you, you could just use some exciting photo or repeat the title of your work, depending on its characteristics.
Give it some swag! (But not too much)
Your slide-show presentation isn’t meant to show how many colors you can combine in one page and how many different fonts do you know. It is intended to be useful. Keep that in mind. If it’s some academic work, forget all the visual and sound effects.
Style your text wisely
There is a whole science behind a good typography for every academic or non-academic work. Every font has its purpose. You can learn how to use them properly from the following slide examples.
Keep it in the same style
This point pretty much explains itself: use the same colors, style, and fonts through the whole presentation.
Don’t use too much text
A slide-show presentation, or any visual background, isn’t meant to be read, nor is it expected to be your whole essay divided into several slides. Not only your audience will lose their attention, but also both ways are somewhat unprofessional. Try to use just some keywords or sentences which will work as support for your audience and yourself.
Less is more: make it visual, not textual
In fact, in some cases, you don’t even need to use written text. Try to use images, videos or graphs instead, use tables for comparison… It is easier to retain audiovisual information than the one which is just written on the screen, and it also doesn’t require so much effort, so your public won’t get bored so quickly. However, don’t force yourself to not using any written text. Try to find a balance between both aspects.
The important stuff goes at the end
If you put the most important idea at the end of the presentation, your audience will retain it much more comfortable then the information from the beginning. Make sure that the last slides show essential ideas, for example, the conclusion of your investigation.
Watch out for unexpected
Sometimes things don’t go well. Your USB might not work, the PC might be out of order, it might not support the same software as your PC does, the internet might not work when you need it… Always have a backup for your presentation. Have it on your USB, on another USB, send it to your email. Save it in its original format and save it in pdf in case it won’t work correctly. Make sure that every single video or sound you’re using in the presentation is on the same PC as the presentation itself; it might not work otherwise.
Lastly, make sure you’re able to present your work even without any support, in case everything goes wrong. Because of that, you might want to have a printed version or just some written notes. If you use some printed material, make sure it’s not a wrinkled or dirty sheet of paper. You can use some clipboard to make your PowerPoint presentation look more professional.
We hope that with our easy guide you will be able not only to understand why you should make your presentations in a certain way but also HOW to make them work correctly. We too would love to have some feedback from you. Did you find this article useful? Do you think we’re wrong in some aspects or we’re missing something? Let us know in the comments below!