How to give a Good Powerpoint Presentation

how to give a good presentation ppt in college and how to give a great presentation ppt in office
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Published Date:12-07-2017
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Gallian 2/28/06 8:03 PM Page 25 “The ability to do a PowerPoint presentation well is a valuable skill that many students will find useful in connection with their academic work and employment.” Advice on Giving a Good PowerPoint Presentation Joseph A. Gallian University of Minnesota Duluth any years ago the traditional way to give a talk at a “This talk is intended for a general audience;” “This talk is conference or colloquium was to use a blackboard. suitable for those who have had linear algebra;” “This talk is MGradually, the blackboard was supplanted by the suitable for those who have had real analysis.” ) overhead projector. Now PowerPoint (or equivalent) presenta- 10. Provide a context for your talk. Explain how you became tions have become the standard. The April 1998 issue of Math interested in the subject. Mention others who have worked Horizons had an article providing advice on how to give a on the subject of your talk. good math talk using transparencies. In this article we update the previous one by focusing on how to give a good Power- 11. Prepare a crisp beginning. Perhaps start with an anec- Point presentation. The ability to do a PowerPoint presenta- dote, a question, or an application. tion well is a valuable skill that many students will find useful in connection with their academic work and employment. 12. Keep technical terms and unfamiliar symbols to a mini- mum. When you do use them, remind your audience of their Preparation meaning from time to time. 1. Determine the level of knowledge of the target audience. 13. When possible, relate your topic to other fields. 2. Choose a subject that will appeal to the intended audience. 14. Use a very large font (even for a talk in a small room). If you reproduce printed material, enlarge it. 3. Don’t overestimate what the audience knows about your subject. 15. Leave ample margins on all four sides with an extra wide margin at the bottom since many in the audience will have 4. Don’t try to do too much. their line of sight to the bottom of the screen obstructed. 5. Use simple examples and concrete special cases. A “non- 16. Restrict each slide to a small number of lines. People example” often helps to clarify a concept. For instance, if come to listen to you talk, not to read your slides. you use the integers modulo 7 as an example of a finite field, be sure to point out that integers modulo 6 is not a field and 17. Use key words and phrases on the slides instead of entire why. sentences. Make sure to proofread for spelling errors. 6. Use intuitive definitions rather than technically correct 18. Avoid filling slides with equations and formulas. ones. Avoid technical details. A “calibration” example often 19. DO NOT COMPUTE IN PUBLIC. helps (i.e., test a new definition on familiar objects). 20. Use figures, pictures, tables, lists, models, props, and 7. Mention applications. animations. 8. Choose a title that is short and informative. Cute titles are 21. If you need a particular slide more than once in your talk, usually poor titles. “On a Theorem of Erdös” is too vague. reproduce it at the appropriate places rather than going back “On Erdös’s Prime Number Theorem” is short and informa- to it. tive. 22. Do not use features of PowerPoint that do not contribute 9. In your abstract, indicate the level of the talk. (Examples: WWW.MAA.ORG/MATHHORIZONS 25Gallian 2/28/06 8:03 PM Page 26 MATH HORIZONS significantly to the presentation. Many people find unwar- stand by the computer. ranted use of special features of PowerPoint annoying. 6. If you use your own laptop, use a power cord and turn off 23. Use color for emphasis but do not overdo it. your screensaver. 24. Rehearse your talk but do not memorize it. 7. Keep some room lights on. The audience wants to see the speaker. 25. Practice your talk using a projector and time your talk. 8. Begin by letting your audience know that you are happy 26. Divide the latter portion of your talk into modules that for the opportunity to speak to them. you can discreetly disregard if time becomes a problem. If you have to omit portions of your talk, don’t tell your audi- 9. Work to convey the impression that you are enjoying talk- ence that you are doing so. (You will come across as not well ing about this subject and that you are excited to have an prepared.) audience. 27. Conjectures and open problems add interest. 10. Show enthusiasm for the subject. If you don’t, your audi- ence won’t be enthusiastic either. Put a lot of energy in your 28. Anticipate questions you may be asked and have a talk. Your energy will energize the audience. (Why do so response to them prepared. many people enjoy rock concerts even though the music is greatly inferior to the recordings? Answer: The energy of the 29. Prepare for an off campus talk by first giving it in your live performance.) department or a class. 11. Generally stay off to the side but MOVE, MOVE, 30. Prepare transparencies as a backup. MOVE Occasionally move toward the screen. Occasional- ly move toward the audience. Occasionally move from one Delivery side of the screen to the other. A talk seems slow moving when the speaker is stationary. Keep your body “open” to the 1. Show up early to check out the room and the equipment. audience. 2. Erase chalkboards even if you don’t plan to use them. 12. Don’t read your slides to the audience. A glance should 3. If possible, remove objects such as a podium, tables or be all you need to see to speak about their content. Spend chairs that won’t be used that are between you and the audi- most of the time looking at the audience. ence. 13. Personalize your presentation. Sprinkle anecdotes, 4. Bring a laser pointer and use it to highlight items. humor, quotes, and personal items throughout your talk. Make clear what your contributions to the subject are. 5. Bring a remote control device so that you do not have to 26 APRIL 2006Gallian 2/28/06 8:03 PM Page 27 MATH HORIZONS 14. Don’t distribute handouts at the beginning or during your Further Reading talk. People will read them rather than listen to you. Mention Joseph A. Gallian, How to give a good talk, Math Horizons, at the outset the handouts will be available after the talk so April (1998), 29-30. that the listeners don’t have to take notes. 15. Repeatedly remind the audience of unfamiliar defini- tions. 16. Go over big ideas twice. When you get to the main the- Advantages of PowerPoint Versus sis of your talk, recapitulate the main ideas. Transparencies 17. Go over big ideas twice. When you get to the main the- 1. Image is brighter, sharper and larger. sis of your talk, recapitulate the main ideas. 2. No keystone effect (where the image narrows 18. MAKE EYE CONTACT. Single out a particular person towards the bottom). in the audience who appears to be interested in what you are saying. Look directly at him or her. Then move on to anoth- 3. Entire image is in focus. er person, then another. Their interest will energize you. 4. No need to reposition slide. 19. Speak loudly. Project to people in the back. 5. Permits use of sound. 20. Vary your voice for dramatic effect. Occasionally change 6. Permits use of animation and sophisticated pace. Careful use of pauses will greatly enhance your effec- graphics. tiveness. A good time to pause is when stating a major result, raising a question or showing a complicated figure. 7. Permits use of the web or software programs. 21. Ask questions or rhetorical questions. Give the audience 8. Line of sight not blocked by projector or speaker. time to contemplate your questions. 9. Easy to find a particular slide. 22. It is not necessary to prove anything. If you can provide an insight about a proof with a few words or picture, do so. 10. No need for a table to put transparencies. 23. Don’t belittle your own results or downplay your knowl- 11. Instant transition from slide to slide saves a edge of the topic. It reduces your credibility to no benefit. significant amount of time. 24. DO NOT EXCEED YOUR ALLOTTED TIME. To do 12. Using a remote control permits the speaker to so indicates you were poorly prepared and have bad man- have greater freedom of movement. ners 13. Typically rooms equipped with a PowerPoint 25. Avoid annoying mannerisms in speaking such as repeat- projector provide a superior overall setting for giving ed use of “OK” or interrupting yourself with “I mean” or a talk. “you know.” 26. Have a grand finale. It could be the main result, a con- Disadvantages of PowerPoint Verses jecture, an open problem or an application. Transparencies 27. Close by thanking your audience. 1. Unlike transparencies where the speaker gets to 28. When you are asked a question, move towards the person glance at the next slide while putting it up and make who asked it and repeat or rephrase the question for the audi- an appropriate segue, with PowerPoint the speaker is ence. sometimes caught off guard about what comes next. 29. Plan to stay a while after your talk. People may want to 2. Possibility of technology failure is much greater. talk with you about it. 3. Need to have backup transparencies. 30. After your talk, do a self evaluation. Make notes about what went well and what could be done better next time. WWW.MAA.ORG/MATHHORIZONS 27

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