Advice on Power Point Presentation

  DANZIG 08:52 04 Sep 2009


I've got to do a Power Point presentation as part of a job interview in a couple of weeks.

Whilst I'm savvy enough to use Power Point, I'm a bit worried about what kind of style to present it in.

Should it have all the whistles and bells or should it be plain and simple.?

  dagbladet 09:27 04 Sep 2009

Ah, 'death by powerpoint'.

Less is more if you ask me, be it transitions, backgrounds, 'fly-ins', or just the amount of slides themselves. I recall somewhere seeing a training video about how NOT to do a powerpoint pres. It brought home to me how bad some of my own must have been when I thought the more transitions I used the better the pres. I'll try and find a link to the vid if I can find it.

  SimpleSimon1 11:35 04 Sep 2009

As someone who gives large numbers of - hopefully interesting - talks and lectures (mostly with Powerpoint), I strongly endorse everything that fourem member says.

- DON'T use the bells and whistles. They may be fun but they are incredibly distracting to the audience. This especially holds tru when you're trying to quickly flip back to a slide in Q&A and have to wait for animations (or even worse sound cues) to complete.

- Don't overcrowd a slide. The worst thing an audience can hear is "you probably can't read this but...."

- Try to keep your font size at 14-16pt or better. Below this, the audience may have trouble reading it.If you've got the space, BOLD smaller font sizes to make them stand out better.

- Don't use fancy fonts. A clear sans serif like Arial is much more readable than something exotic

- Use a consistent style; one font type, restraint on font attributes, consistent font sizes {where space allows} for the different text styles

- Don't fall prey to the temptation to make everything bullet points. Not only does it bore the audience but there is tendency for you to simply start reading those bullet points. Since you should be using the slides to establish concepts which you will then talk about, use diagrams, clip art etc to give the audience some variety.

- Don't be afraid to use cue cards. I know the ppt allows you to add speaker notes but I still find the best option is to write your key points on 5x3 index cards.

- rehearse, rehearse, rehearse ALOUD. It may feel a bit strange at first (try speaking to a mirror to watch your body languade) but you MUST rehearse aloud to get your timings right. You will find that speaking aloud takes much longer than rehearsing them in your mind. Even so, assume that the 'real' presentation may take up to 10-15% longer than your verbal run-throughs.

- Finally, your first slide should always be the title and your name. When you show this, BEFORE you present the title and name, make a throwaway comment about the weather, journey, how pleased you are to be there etc. This is VITAL because it gives the audience an opportunity to 'key' to your voice before you starting saying things that you want them to remember (like your name). A listener always subconsciously undergoes this keying process and it's not uncommon for them to miss the first couple of words whilst it's happening. Thus, make sure that the words they miss aren't important.

Anyway, sorry if this has been a bit "teaching grandma to suck eggs" but Powerpoint can be a great tool if used correctly. Unfortunately, it's depressing how many people use it badly.

Good luck

  dagbladet 12:02 04 Sep 2009

"The worst thing an audience can hear is "you probably can't read this but...."

Oh yes an absolute classic.

This is the clip I think (currently at work, no youtube access)

click here

  SimpleSimon1 12:25 04 Sep 2009

>This is the clip I think (currently at work, no youtube access)

LOL - that should be mandatory viewing every time someone opens a powerpoint for editing.

  Belatucadrus 17:22 04 Sep 2009

click here
This is worth a look.

  Chris the Ancient 17:39 04 Sep 2009

fourm member...

Spot on.




ROFLMAO! Brilliant - I wish I could get a'proper' copy of that because by the time youtube strangles it the quality makes it nearly unreadable.


Remember KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Plain and simple, consistent fonts and sizes that can be read and (if any) plain (maybe x-fade) slide transitions. Don't read out aloud the content of slides - the audience can read - but use the content as discussion points. PP is an aid to your presentation, not the focus.

  OTT_Buzzard 18:12 04 Sep 2009

It seems unlikely that the company in questions is genuinely interested you using powerpoint.

Normally presentation interviews are concerned with testing knowledge of a subject area or testing how well you present yourself.

To that end, only use powerpoint when it will work for you. Producing a slide is only ever any use if it is *the best* way of conveying a message.

  OTT_Buzzard 18:14 04 Sep 2009

First sentence should read:
It seems unlikely that the company in question is genuinely interested in you using powerpoint

  skeletal 18:35 04 Sep 2009

I agree with what everyone’s said so far, with one tiny mod: the use of bells and whistles.

I tend to use a gentle move in from the left; I do not like the fast spin rounds etc.

I also make every slide transition the same; the audience will then concentrate on what is being shown, and said, rather that having their senses assaulted for each new slide.

But here’s the difference, very occasionally there will be something of particular importance. This may be a time to do a fancy transition, to “shock” the audience.

I would expect a “shock” to be between zero and two slides i.e. not very often!

Also, sometimes I need to show something that is very complex and will not fit on one slide (this will be for training purposes rather than just a presentation though). In such cases I arrange the direction of slide transition to match where the drawing (or more correctly a person’s eyes) would “move” next. (I hope that makes sense!).


  Pineman100 18:53 04 Sep 2009

The advice that you've received from everyone on this thread is brilliant.

It would make a great Powerpoint presentation.


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