PowerPoint / PowerPoint Slide Presentations

General Comments

With the development of the multimedia presentations has come the use of the computer to design slides that are then projected during your presentation. This has led to some great presentations and to some very poor ones. The difference between the two has been an understanding of the process. Your research is important but it is judged, perhaps incorrectly, but the way it is presented. Present it so the audience has the best opportunity to see its value. Below are a few suggestions that will help you to move your presentation into the great category.

Specific Suggestions

  1. What you see on the monitor is not what you will see in a semi-dark room with a projector 50 to 75 feet from the screen. While lines will be wider they will not be as dark as on the monitor. Colors may appear washed out.
  2. While you can read 10 point type on the monitor you need to use at least 24-36 point for text and larger titles.  That may mean more slides, but three readable slides are better than one that is unreadable. No “Look at the data in column 14, row 27.” Yeah, you bet. If that is the important data have it on a slide that can be read in the back of the room.
  3. Script fonts look neat but are hard to read. Use Arial, or Helvetica for clear appearing text. You want the audience to read the slide as you are talking, they shouldn’t have to concentrate to read it.
  4. Do not put up a slide of text and then read it to the audience. If it is readable, they’ll read it, if it is not, shame on you for presenting it.
  5. Animations and sounds that are not integral to the topic of the talk (e.g. if the talk is about vocalizations) are discouraged since the effects can be distracting.
  6. Use a solid background color.  If a gradation of color is used, the text must contrast with all gradation of the background. Medium blue is good for a background with the text in white, bright yellow, pink, etc. Do not use dark red, dark green, or dark blue. They do not project well.
  7. If you have lists, it is best if the items come up one at a time and the previous items change to a different color. Items 1, 2, 3, and 4 in pink while talking about item 5, in bright yellow, helps the audience see what has lead up to the item being discussed but to also concentrate on it.
  8. The great thing about PowerPoint or other presentation applications is that they can be changed easily. We strongly recommend that you practice your slide presentation, in advance, in a large, dimly-lit room. Make sure the presentation can be viewed and heard from the back of the room.