Higher Ed Administrators: Improve Your Power Point Presentations
Apr 20, 2009 Classroom Materials 2999 Views
Power Point has been an integral part of presentations for enough years now that experts have been able to accurately assess what works well and what doesn't. Here are some tips.
-- Use the same background for each and every one of your slides to give your presentation a professional, polished look and feel. Having too many backgrounds within a presentation is a distraction for your audience, and they will focus more on the slides themselves than on their content. The templates offered on the program are a good place to start since they are made to look professional.
-- One of the principles of Gestalt is that the eye can more easily pick out words when there is a high degree of figure/ground contrast. If you choose a dark blue color as the background for your slides, do not use black, red, or a medium color of blue as your font color. Instead, opt for a bright white instead: that way, your audience's attention will be drawn to the text where it belongs. Hint: studies show that pink text on a red background is the most difficult of all to read.
-- Shake things up by inserting a graphic or image on several slides. Face it: your audience of educators will start yawning by the third slide if you don't do something different. Even teachers get bored when they are being taught! It needn't be overwhelming: just one image or graphic per slide will do.
Just make sure that whatever you choose is relevant to the topic and consistent with the tone of your presentation. For example, an animated cartoon would probably not be appropriate for a serious discussion on sexual harassment.
-- Stick with the 6 x 6 rule: six words across and six lines per slide. People have a hard time paying attention to more than this little chunk of information at one viewing. If you want people to remember your content, stick by this rule. Also, make sure you are using at least 36 points with your font size so that all text will be easily visible at the back of the room.
-- Finish with a bang! Wrap up your presentation with a clever catch phrase or easily remembered and witty acronym to sum up your thoughts. Your audience will never recall the contents of each and every slide, so leave them with something to jog their memory about your topic in the future.