Re: Text on Slides in Technical Communication presentation

Subject: Re: Text on Slides in Technical Communication presentation
From: "Dick Margulis" <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 15:30:57 -0400


I edit PowerPoint for people all the time.

Aside from the point Bruce made (don't stand there and read the slide to the audience; they can read just fine without your help, thanks), here are some tips.

1. Less is more. Don't cram too many words onto a slide. Use another slide for the continuation.

2. Break lines the way you break subheads. For example, slide the conjunction or preposition down to the beginning of the next line rather than dangling it at the end. Read the copy aloud if you have to, in order to put the breaks in comfortable places. Don't be concerned about making all the lines the same length on the screen. Short is good.

3. Watch for consistency of things like capitalization, font size and color, positioning of headings, etc.--all the stuff you'd look for in a printed document. If the author has grabbed slides from multiple old presentations (using different templates) the slide titles are likely to jump around as you page through the presentation. You want NOT to distract the audience with that sort of thing.

4. Learn to deal with indents, bullets, and special characters (even en and em dashes), all of which is somewhat different in PowerPoint than in Word. In particular turn on View | Ruler to access the indent controls for different levels of bullets.

5. My SO is a physician who has recently started using PowerPoint for presentations. She can talk extemporaneously for hours on end about her field. What she does with the PowerPoint may be instructive in your case. She uses the slides to display her outline as she moves through the talk. This keeps her on track and tells the audience where she is, too. But she does not read from the slides. Each bullet on the slide represents paragraphs of discourse. The other thing she uses the PowerPoint for is to show pictures of patients, including movie clips (from her Mavica) illustrating specific movements.



In the

"Peter Shea (USF)" asks:

>I've been editing articles for doctors. Recently, I've asked to edit a
>presentation paper & the PowerPoint slides that accompany it.
>While I know PowerPoint, I am unaccustomed to thinking about slide
>content. Aside from suggesting that the doctors keep their bulleted lists
>to a minimum, I don't know what else to suggest.


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