Re: PowerPoint advice

Subject: Re: PowerPoint advice
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 15:47:13 -0400


You're on the right track with your understanding of the uselessness of PowerPoint. It is mostly a crutch for the insecure speaker. However, it _can_be used effectively.

One thing to keep in mind is that Ctrl-B will black out the screen. This is a GOOD thing. If you have three simple points to make in one section of your presentation, you should be able to hold the audiences's attention by making those points orally. They should not have to read the self-same points on a screen behind you--an activity that distracts them from what you are saying, after all.

If, on the other hand, you want to discuss a picture of something, put up the picture and discuss it. This might be an org chart or a flowchart or a page from a medieval manuscript or a picture of a turbine blade, but the point is that you want to show the audience the a picture of the thing you are discussing, not just a summary of what they are supposed to be listening to. They can take their own notes, or you can give them handouts afterward.

Now, having said all that, the rules are entirely different if you are creating the presentation for someone else to give--someone like a salesperson, perhaps. In that case, you may well have to cater to their insecurity and spell out every rhetorical point in wordy detail.

In that case, all I can advise you is to keep it simple. Use a consistent layout, with consistent positioning, consistent indents, sizes, and styles. Limit yourself to no more than two fonts (one for the slide title, one for everything else) or, better yet, one font. Pay attention to whether your text is more readable with the Shadow attributte turned on (depends on text color and background color--sometimes it helps). Use animations only if they add to comprehension as you build a complex story. Use manual line breaks (shift+Enter) to keep phrases together and enhance readability as people glance back and forth among the speaker, the screen, and their desks. Avoid excessive use of capitals (think of slide titles as subheads--use sentence case).

Good luck.


Darren Barefoot wrote:

So, I've been searching the Web for advice on how to use PowerPoint
responsibly (how's this for irony:

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PowerPoint advice: From: Darren Barefoot

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