We’ve all been through this nightmare – sitting in a dark room, staring at a screen filled with clip art and an endless army of bullet points while the presenter reads the slides aloud, as you struggle to stay awake. Oh, the horror! Is this the best way to present information to a class? Of course not! Then why subject your students to that same torture? Stop PowerPoint before it harms more students!
In the weeks that follow, we’ll be presenting some useful tips and strategies for creating and delivering better presentations. Your first tip is simple… lose the bullet points! PowerPoint practically forces us to use bullet points, and everyone’s presentations are filled with them, but this is not an effective way to present information. This strategy is especially ineffective if the bullet point text is long, and you read them out loud to the students. If we work together, though, we can kill the bullet points!
The answer to that question is simple, but will take some practice, so we’ll take it one step at a time. First of all, cut those bullet points from your slide, and paste them into the notes section (in the pane just below your slide, and out of sight when you’re displaying the slide show to an audience). Then, take your hands off the keyboard for a moment, and consider the core message that you’re trying to convey.
Once you have that figured out, place your core message back on your slide using simple visuals or concise, directed text. Scanned images, simple drawings, photos from the CD that came with your book, photos you took yourself, videos, or charts and graphs are all great examples of visuals. Be creative! Don’t worry about not including every detail of the idea, because you are there to explain it!
Here is a great example of a new take on an agenda slide.
And here is an interesting presentation about creating a brand name, that makes great use of creative but simple typography.