Read and Study Effective Presentations

Remember to check in with your instructor for Discussion or E-mail messages.

In Unit 2 you were introduced to some basic design concepts:

Defining the Purpose of the Presentation

Identifying the purpose helps to provide a focus for the speaker and ensures that a clear message is conveyed to the audience. Limit the number of related topics in the presentation to avoid confusion in the mind of the audience. Ensure that the main topic is clearly stated and then supported and reinforced throughout the entire presentation.

Developing the Content

To create an effective presentation, you must know your subject. If necessary, you may need to research some components of your topic.

Creating Effective Text Presentations

  • The first slide in the presentation should provide an introduction to the topic.  It should:  gain the attention of the audience; introduce the topic; present the purpose; and forecast the main points
  • The last slide should provide a conclusion.  It should:  summarize the main points; and leave the audience with something to remember
  • In between, there should be a natural flow to the presentation. Each of these remaining slides in a presentation should contain only one main thought or idea. Apply the 7 x 7 rule to the content of these remaining slides. This means that each slide should contain no more than seven lines (bullets) of text and each line of text should contain no more than seven words. This can be achieved by eliminating unnecessary articles, pronouns, and adjectives. Be sure that the grammatical structure of the phrases are parallel to one another and that font sizes are readable.

Now you have some new features to consider when creating a presentation:

Using Graphics Effectively

There are many reasons to include graphic images in a presentation. Some of these reasons are:

  • to present information that cannot be as effectively conveyed in words
  • to involve, interest and motivate the audience
  • to increase audience understanding and create a lasting impression
  • to build credibility and add a sense of reality
  • to provide variety

When choosing a graphic image or picture to add to the presentation consider the effect it will have on the audience and the part it plays in supporting the topic. Just because clip art and other images are available to use, does not necessarily mean they should be included. Too many graphic images in a presentation can be distracting for the audience creating the opposite effect, detracting from rather than enhancing the message.

Polish Up the Presentation

Now that the text is created and entered and appropriate graphic images inserted it is time to put on the finishing touches. If not already selected, choose a theme template that will provide an appropriate backdrop to the slides in the presentation. Run the slide show to check how each slide will be presented to the audience, and consider applying transition and custom animation effects to the objects in the presentation.

When applying transition schemes to the presentation, graphic designers recommend that it is best to use no more than two different effects in one presentation. Using more than two can cause the audience to become fixated on the visual effects and lose sight of the content and message of the presentation. The title slide usually has no transition effects applied.

Custom animation effects can be applied to bulleted text or graphic images. When applied to bulleted text, each bulleted paragraph is progressively disclosed to the audience during the running of the slide show. This helps to focus the audience attention on each individual bulleted item as it appears on the screen. If animation effects are applied to bulleted text, like the use of transition schemes it is best to choose and use no more than two different types of effect. This will keep the presentation consistent.

You will work again with you partner this week while you do the practice presentations.  You and your partner will review each other’s presentation and offer advice and help (your instructor can also give you some help if you need it).  Remember to use the Discussion Board that was set up for you and your partner to post the practice presentations for review by each other.  You will have the discussion board available for both the presentations and the advice and help for each other.  The assignments will be done on your own.

The 7 x 7 rule may still be the one that needs the most work.  Work at eliminating unnecessary articles, pronouns, and adjectives.  Creating a list on a slide will often allow you great flexibility on a slide.  Point format means that whole sentences are not required.

Following the suggestions for planning, preparation and delivery outlined above will put you on your way to creating and delivering an effective presentation.


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