Academic Skills – Presenting Effectively – Part 3


Okay, moving on to the visual aspect and
the PowerPoint aspect in this: That’s an example of a three minute
thesis slide by Rosemary Boland who was a University of Melbourne entrant in the 3MT. A very impactful slide – and they
don’t always have to look like this, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s quickly
accessible; it supports what she said – because it was about premature birth and that’s what the image is about – and its high interest – high impact. Again, you don’t always have
to go for high-impact, but sometimes it could be appropriate. Some design considerations about the visual aspect: the Powerpoint. Now these are just guides, okay? One of the first rules though, you’ll find in
any bit of online advice or some advice on presentations and presenting
using visuals and PowerPoint is: Don’t over populate slides. So, you know – minimal key text. Not sentences, not paragraphs: minimal text. This is an oral context, not necessarily a reading one. This is
just to support you. So, I always go for between 5 and
8 points per slide – if there’s detail, I’ll give out some handouts if I
need to. Slided to time ratio is a very common
question. My general answer is: rule of thumb – don’t
have more slides than minutes. So if it’s a 20-minute presentation, your rule of thumb is 20 slides. Of course, there’s going to be exceptions to this rule. If you’re doing an art presentation with 20 slides of pictures with some textual slides backing it up, you might go over that. But generally speaking, you shouldn’t have more slides than minutes. And, as a transition aid (and a presenter’s aid) get one of these. If you’re going to be presenting regularly – it’s a slide advancer – and it frees you up from staying near the keyboard. Some other considerations: 18-32 point text generally. For this size here, for this in-text font
here – and for the headings, 36-40 point print. Tend towards sans serif fonts – they’re the fonts without that little hook bit (like Times New Roman). So, go for things like Arial and Calibri – they’re a bit easier to read. Contrast text to background. I find black-on-white is simple, but it’s very effective and probably the best. You don’t need to use the PowerPoint templates – I don’t – I just start blank. Wipe the template; start blank. If you have to use a departmental template, that’s one thing. If you don’t, you can consider generating your own. But my advice on these slides: Keep it simple. Clean and simple is best. Animations: I tend to use wipe
animations. That animation there is a wipe animation. It’s very simple, effective, clean. Don’t use the crazy – what I call the crazy animations: The twirlygigs, the diamond, the parachute… They’re too busy and I think it’s easier, and more effective to use a simple wipe one. When looking at pictures: what I call a ‘drop shadow’ just tends to lift the picture off the page. You can emphasize or highlight with transparent boxes. So, rather than using the laser (and most
of these things have a laser); or underlining (which tends to make the text a bit more busy); think of things like simple, shaded
boxes. To format any picture or shape: You just need to double-click on it, or
right-click it. It’s very simple in PowerPoint. This PowerPoint display and the menu would depend on the version you’re using, but generally they’re all fairly much the
same in terms of the menu they have above. Inserting that type of shape is in
the “Insert Shapes” menu. You’ve got a lot of shapes to choose
from. Something like this is just simply a
square, okay? You drop it in and you can format the color and the transparency. You can make it semi-transparent, so you can overlay it on text, which is a nice feature. So Insert>Shapes… and format is the right-click – you right-click your picture or image to bring it out. The animations is in the Animations Tab. The wipe animation is there – you don’t have to use that – it’s the one I prefer – and that numbering, when it comes up, will give you your order of entry of text animation; or picture animation; image animation; box; shape… anything on
the page. If you can use Microsoft Word – I’m hoping
you’re understanding this by now – if you can use MS Word, you can use
PowerPoint. It’s very simple. Okay, so: complex images. Sometimes you need to use complex images. This was not an image I’d prefer to use, but I’m using this is an example, that if you get something as complicated
as this – a dataset, for example, to show – you probably wouldn’t start there. It’s too much information. Think of the multiple audio/sensory input that Susan Weinschenk talks about. Reduce and keep it simple. So, you might start with that. Talk about that for a couple of minutes…
Move on…. Talk about that part… Move to the next
slide… Talk about that… and finally end up with this, however
many minutes later. You’ll probably agree that starting with
that is much more effective I think or,
easier for the audience to deal with, than starting with that. Okay? Similarly – again I’m thinking of university students who sometimes have complicated data sets to produce, and talk about, and show to an audience – If you’ve got that and you want to
emphasize part of it, you can de-emphasize. Now, you’ve probably worked out already: these are just shaded boxes. Okay? So, I’ve used the Insert>Shapes menu… A grey box. Right-click, Format… Make it semi-transparent… and then you
animate it to come in. Okay? You can also emphasize. Now again, you look at this and that is clearly more emphatic and
easier to read and what it was 3 animations ago. Simple. Okay: graphs. Same thing. You don’t have to show the whole data set at the same time or at once. You can bring it in, talk your way through it. At the pace you
need to. You can even bring them in in varied ways
if you want to. Now this kind of looks like it’s difficult.
It’s not. They’re just shapes… They’re animated in… If you want them to come in at the same
time, what you do is you just: Click on one, hold down the shift key, click on the others – then you can animate them in together. Okay, we’re coming to the end of this. We’ll
look at some dont’s then some do’s so we end on a positive note. Some things to avoid: Avoid clipart
and stick figures .They have a place, but I don’t think it’s in presentations. I
tend to go, where I can, for real photos. Acknowledge them. Just say
where you got them from. Things like Wiki Commons… There’s plenty of free banks of photographs online, if you haven’t got
your own. Don’t go with slide borders, and you
don’t need a picture of yourself. The audience can see you, they know who you are. Don’t use crazy animations, as we’ve talked about. Don’t lose eye contact with the audience. Just for the purpose of this
presentation, I’ve look back and forward a fair few times, but try to keep your focus
this way: on the audience, engaging with them. Try
to be as front on as you can. Don’t over-populate slides – talked about
that. You don’t need a thank you slide. Quite often oral presentations from PhD candidates, conference
presentations – no matter what the situation – have a thank you slide. You don’t need it. Avoid font mixing and avoid fancy fonts. Don’t use Comic Sans, it’s a terrible font. Keep them simple. OK. Some take away
messages: Sequence and separation, okay? Talk-to-time: So, fit your talk to the time
you have and that means reduce content if you
need to – that’s the reduction point. Reduce, okay? That applies to what you say – keep the important bits prominent – and it applies to the visuals as well. Large text size. Keep it simple – not too much information.
So, KIS not TMI. Look positive, look happy and have a clear focus / message, okay? So what I’m recommending you to do is to
go away, go back to your computers and try some of this. Okay. Stay on our website, Academic Skills, for more fantastic strategies and tips, workshops
and ways that we can assist you academically.
Thank you.

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