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Last Updated: Jul 26, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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When you have to prepare a speech

Watch this video and find the mistake.


You have been asked to create a POWERPOINT

Watch this video and find the mistake.


How to Powerpoint


How to Powerpoint…….or, keeping it simple!


Create maximum impact with your Powerpoint presentation by thinking of these few simple points.


Planning your presentation


Who is your audience?

·         A class group of your peers.

·         An audience with knowledge of your topic.

·         A younger audience with no knowledge of your topic.


Where are you showing it?

·         Proscreen to a large group.

·         On a computer to a small group.

·         An online tutorial for one person to follow.


•     Beginning, middle, end: organisation!

·         Your presentation is like writing a story.  You have to introduce your topic, entertain and educate in the body of the presentation, and then conclude strongly.

·         If you don’t plan, your presentation has no impact!


–   Straight to PowerPoint, or good old pen and paper?

·         Think about what is going into your presentation before you start typing.  Some people like to plan a concept map or brainstorm before working on their presentation.

·         You can brainstorm using conventional pen and paper, or you can use the Outline view in Microsoft Word.


–   All text?

·         Your work doesn’t have to be presented entirely in words.  You have the option of breaking your slides up with graphs, tables and even Clip Art.  Embedding sound and video presentations are possible as well.

·         Varying the presentation of your information keeps the audience focussed.


Looking good:  do you need the bells and whistles?


Keep it simple!

·         Use only a few words per slide.

·         Ensure that pictures used relate to your topic in some way.

·         Sounds should add to your presentation, not distract the audience from your presentation.

q  Transitions between slides should be smooth. Don’t use every single one available!


A picture can speak a thousand words….

·         A good example of non-verbal communication is to use a picture or a sound to impart or convey an idea. 

·         Using a picture instead of words is called ‘Visual Literacy’, and can be an important tool for those with a learning disability like dyslexia, or for those who can’t read at all. 

·         You may also be presenting to a group with a hearing impairment, and the use of pictures with text would be highly effective.



·         Make it attractive. Think about your colour and design.

q  While your presentation should be informative, you should also think about how it looks.

q  Colour and design of your background and text impact on how well your audience can understand your presentation.

q  The most effective colours to use for on-screen presentations are a white background, with black or red text.

q  Be careful when using dark coloured backgrounds – don’t forget, you’ll probably be presenting in a darkened room, and the dark background may make reading difficult.


·         Is the text legible?  Font size!

q  Ensure that headings are distinct from the body of your text.

q  Font size is important.  If presenting to a large group, you are catering to the person right down the back.  If presenting something one-on-one (such as an on-screen tutorial), the font size may not need to be as large.

q  A larger font size will be of use when presenting to those with a visual impairment.


·         Proofread! and check your facts.

q  The best presentations are often ruined by poor spelling and grammar, and incorrect facts.

q  When you have finished, check your work thoroughly.

q  After you’ve checked your work, have a friend or family member check it for you.  It’s easy as the author to just gloss over mistakes you are used to seeing on the screen.


To read or not to read?  Preparing before the presentation.


·         Powerpoint is like using palm cards:  the writing on the screen should just be there as a memory jogger for you most of the time.

·         Standing and reading directly from the screen isn’t good practice and may put your audience off!    The only time this would be useful is if your audience is unable to read.

·         Run through your presentation in front of a friend before presenting to your audience.  It gives you a chance to iron out any difficulties, and to practice your tone of voice and pace of presentation.


Presentation pointers

q  Keep eye contact with your audience.  If you are addressing a large group, look out just over the top of peoples’ heads – it gives the illusion that you are looking at them.

q  Speak clearly and don’t mumble.

q  When looking to the screen for prompting, or pointing out an item of interest, don’t turn your back on your audience.  Stand at an angle, and ensure that your voice is still being directed out towards your audience.

q  Avoid ums and ahs, and speak with confidence!  Don’t apologise if you fumble.  YOU are the expert!

q  If you get lost at any stage, stop speaking, gather your thoughts, take a deep breath, and start again.

q  Smile! 


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Jan Stoddart

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