Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Powerful Presentations

Presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, and Open-Office Impress are fantastic for preparing and delivering effective presentation.

Having said that, we need to remember that effective presentation are effective only when they follow the proven principles we have been learning in our course. You are preparing to present a 4-5 minute PowerPoint presentation with at least five slides. If you want your presentation to really hum (or sign, yodel, scream, whatever) so that your listeners willingly buy into what you are saying and remember it, you must follow a few proven guidelines. We discussed them in class today and saw examples. These guidelines include:

1. Use your thesis sentence as the title for your presentation. For example, instead of using a title like, "Credit Card Debt," make a statement like," Americans are burying themselves in credit card debt."

2. Make a statement in the heading of each slide. The heading statement is a main point that tells your listeners what the slide should mean to them. For example, let the slide heading be, "The summer of 2006 was the worst ever for wildfires," instead of using a label like, "2006 Wildfires."

3. Display your source citation on the slide and mention it out loud. For example, "I took this information from a 2004 study on cdc.org." Type cdc.org prominently at the bottom of the slide.

4. Be sure to follow the recipe for all presentation aids: 1) show it, 2) explain it, and 3) interpret it. When your presentation aid is part of a PowerPoint, be sure that the interpretation shows up in the heading statement of the slide.

5. Choose type faces and type color so that the slide is immediately readable by your viewers. White type on a dark-colored background is easiest to read. Make the type large (32 points for body type and 44 points for headings). Those aren't hard and fast rules, but be sure to reduce the amount of type on the slide so that it will all fit in about that size.

6. Of course, present a clear thesis and solid support as you have in past speeches.

Take a look at the PowerPoint example that follows. Pay particular attention to the slide headings, the source citations, and the use of colors and type sizes.

video

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