PowerPoint Advice: More Advice and Thanks

Subject: PowerPoint Advice: More Advice and Thanks
From: "Darren Barefoot" <darren -at- darrenbarefoot -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 12:04:29 -0700

Thanks to everyone for their advice on using PowerPoint responsibly. A
number of people also emailed me personally with excellent advice. I've
collected that information below. I'm afraid I haven't got a lot of time
to summarize all of the advice I've received, but at least all the raw
material will be in the TECHWRL archives.

If anyone's interested, the source material
(http://www.capulet.com/presentations/stc_cwc/index.html) and slides
(http://www.capulet.com/presentations/stc_cwc/STCSlides.htm) for the
presentation are available. If you compare the PowerPoint presentation
with my original, written-out speech (before I distilled it into
speakers' notes), you'll see that the PP presentation is pretty
minimalist. In fact, it was hardly necessary at all, but I needed
something to cover up the Web sites I referred to throughout the
presentation. Cheers. DB.

I do not have a link for you, but what I have learned in most classes is
to include "nothing" in PowerPoint presentations. Only use them to
highlight very important facts, or for simple graphics that relate to
the subject or illustrate an idea.

If you really need to provide more information, include notes for the
trainer, sales person or who ever is going to present the material.

I must say however, that I do not do what I preach as all powerpoint
presentations I have had to prepare in my previous job were for trainers
who knew nothing of the product except what we could provide to them in
the trainer's kit. As I didn't know how good the trainers were (I never
got to meet any of the trainers), I just gave them everything on slides
to make sure the students at least got to hear and see the information
once. </advice1>

Some background info first - I use PowerPoint at work to review the
results of marketing tests and sales trends for the executive committee.
One of my former bosses is now a university professor, and I use
PowerPoint when I give guest lectures in marketing technology to her

I think that the outlining function in PowerPoint leads many people
astray. The outline on the screen becomes a crutch to support them
throughout the presentation - they just read it off of the screen
instead of their notes. I think that the best use of PowerPoint is to
provide the audience with intresting visual information that supports,
but does not distract from, the oral presentation. When I create my
slides, I think of them as illustrations in a book. I use very few
slides - appropriate graphs, illustrations, photos, and reiterations of
key concepts. If there is a long section of my presentation where I
will not need an illustration, I show my audience the title slide. I
use a very simple background and no fancy slide transitions. I want the
audience to pay attention to me, not the screen behind me. </advice2>

I don't know your definition of "responsibly" but here are two links to
'how to' tutorials with examples. Perhaps a quick look will tell you if
what you are looking for resides within these pages.

Microsoft PowerPoint Tutorial from Bay City Public Schools in Bay City,
Michigan: http://www.bcschools.net/staff/PowerPointHelp.htm


PowerPoint Answers: [features templates for downloading]

These are tutorials....so rather basic. But, since they _are_ basic,
perhaps they offer the simplicity you are seeking. I haven't explored
these sites in any great degree ... they were posted to a listserv for

I really appreciate your quest for creative, effective PowerPoint
presentations....I've lived through some very bad ones myself!

Can't say if it is advice or just a couple of pet-peeves:

Prepare your presentation as if PowerPoint was not available, then
select the *major points* you want to highlight with illustrations.

Make the appropriate illustrations in PP.

When you deliver the presentation, either turn the damn display off or
place a blank slide between each illustration slide.

I agree with your sentiments regarding the dumbing down of public
speaking and personally despise presentations that have everything
word-for-word on the screen. I would rather listen to what you have to
say and I don't need sub-titles distracting me. </advice4>

I tend to think of PowerPoint as a LazyMan's graphics tool. In
presentations, I use it as such. I write my presentation in (Frame,
pencil and paper, <gasp - horrors> Word, etc. This way, I can write an
outline first, and then fill out the outline.

That done, I think what graphics, diagrams, code snippets, etc. will
best illustrate my points, and use PowerPoint to create them.

However, I haven't played much with transitions, and do not know what a
star-themed transition is. Do you want your slides to briefly form the
face of Gwynneth Paltrow (or however you spell her name) as they morph
from one slide to the next? </advice5>

I'm on the digest and just catching up, but this might be useful to you


Darren Barefoot
Capulet Communications


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