Practice Makes Perfect Presentation

I am sure anyone reading this has had their fair share of PowerPoint presentations. After much feedback over the years, I thought that I was doing everything right, as you probably think too. I always figured you just need to add pictures, transitions, and make sure it looks well organized and not clustered. However, after doing some research and watching this extremely helpful Ted Talk, I learned way more than I thought I would. Give it a watch:

To sum up the video, there are five key points to consider when making a PowerPoint. David JP Phillips says that first, make sure you only put one message per slide. This is because our brains are very limited on how much they can take in and concentrate on at a time.

Secondly, work the audience’s memory. In order to do this, only use short bits of text per slide and include images. If you find yourself using big long sentences, then use that as the content you deliver verbally, but take away some key words to put on your slide.

Third, watch your sizing. We often make the headline bigger than the content on the slide. However, the headline is rarely the most important part. The most important part of your PowerPoint should also be the biggest, because this is what your eyes will spend the most time on.

Fourth, use effective contrast. This will help show what needs to be focused on. A good tip would be not using white for your background. If you use black or a dark color, then the audience can relax their eyes and focus on the person delivering the presentation as well, and not only focus on the big white screen. YOU are the presentation. The PowerPoint is simply your visual aid.

Fifth and final, only put enough objects that can be seen. Do not put so many to where it takes the audience a while to count how many are on the slide. Personally, I think four or less objects per slide is acceptable. Otherwise, it causes the audience to use more energy, which also can exhaust their interest in your content. Now, this may cause you to have more slides, but that is not an issue compared to having slides that are too content heavy.

Knowing how to present is very important in school and in many jobs. Practice using these five tips with every PowerPoint and I guarantee you will perfect each one. Hopefully you found this just as helpful as I did!

By Kamryn Cantu, Business Major-IUPUC

Pros and Cons of PowerPoint

The ways in which we are able to communicate our message to others has changed drastically over time from writing letters to typing emails and then to sending text messages. The same thing can be said about the way we present information to others, whether it would be simply to introduce people to something new, inform others on a certain topic or persuade others to take a course of action. From the simple projectors that used knobs and transparent sheets to computers, Microsoft PowerPoint is the common visual presentation tool that almost everyone uses today for speeches, meetings and many other purposes. When presenting with one, it can help you out in the long run, or maybe hurt your presentation at the same time depending on how effectively you use it.

When it comes to PowerPoint, it is a great visual aid to use in presentations, so use it to your advantage! One benefit it has is that it can grab the attention of your audience, which not only brings interest to your presentation but also can take the pressure off yourself when you are speaking. Use it to illustrate your points such as using graphs and charts to back-up your statistics, or by using pictures to enhance your slides (or to distract in some cases). Another great value to using PowerPoint is that it helps adapt your message to people who learn in different ways. For example, there might be someone who learns better by listening while somebody else learns well visually. Believe it or not, you are actually using two channels to communicate your message this way. An interesting benefit of PowerPoint is that it can help nonnative speakers’ presentations be more understandable to an audience that has a hard time trying to pick up on the dialect of the speaker.

However, just because PowerPoint is a great tool does not mean it has its downsides as well. First of all, you do not want to take all the attention away from yourself otherwise your PowerPoint is being used more like a distraction than it should be such as adding music to your presentation. Unless you are trying to entertain, do not do this in a professional presentation. Also make sure you have a backup plan on how you are going to present because sometimes events such as blackouts may not create the most favorable conditions. Plus you don’t want to be too attached to technology for you techno people out there (Fact: The accident of the Columbia space shuttle mission was partially due to vague information used in PowerPoint instead of technical reports.). This is also self-explanatory, but do not put information in your presentation that may hurt others; otherwise, your audience may get the wrong impression about you. Last but not least, using bullet-points in your slides are great for summarizing what you are about to say, but do not use them too much in your presentation because it tends to be repetitive and in some cases too short.

These are just some of the pros and cons for this useful program. Hopefully, this will help you all reading this to become better presenters in the future.

I would like to give credit to the Web site “media.baruch.cuny.edu” for the information on some of the pros and cons of PowerPoint used in this post.

http://media.baruch.cuny.edu/faculty/jbelland/powerpoint/tips.htm

Written by Derek Huffman, Business Major at IUPUC