November 11, 2006

Presentations 101

So I have accepted my uni acceptance (and am now awaiting their acceptance of my acceptence of their accepting my initial application...) so it's back to the books for me.
Though the main drive for doing honours is not so much hitting books, but doing some real practical lab work. But it will mean a few books, and journals, a couple of exams, and of course, presentations.

I like to think my presentations are good. It's one of the reasons I enjoyed being a teacher last year. I really like hearing myself talk. But its not just pure ego, I have pride too, so I do my best to make sure any presentation is fun, educational and interesting. It almost invariably involves using powerpoint.

A lot of people don't know how to use powerpoint. I've seen some bad uses of powerpoint from lecturers and students, and I've been guilty of powerpoint abuse before too - My bad is overcluttering of slides and using distracting animations, or worse sounds. The mistake I think a lot of people make is not realising what powerpoint is for. Powerpoint point is PART of your presentation, it doesn't replace it, but you also have to refer to your slides at some point.

The Global Perspective has a good(?) example (stolen from Presentation Zen) of bad Powerpoint usage - over use of text (he could only make it worse by reading it verbatim). They were also very good at presenting a good exaple of presenting the same idea(s) in a more visual friendly format.

So when you do powerpoint remember KISS; read off your notes, not your slides; and refer to your slides.

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