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BIOL 103: Issues & Techniques in Genetic Engineering: Presentation Notes

Presentation Skill Development

How To Avoid Death By PowerPoint

Notes from your Professor

Construction: Tips for Making Effective PowerPoint Presentations

  1. Use the slide master feature to create a consistent and simple design template. It is fine to vary the content presentation (i.e. bulleted list, 2-column text, text & Image), but be consistent with other elements such as fonts, colors, and background.
  2. Simplify and limit the number of words on each screen. Use key phrases and include only essential information.
  3. Limit punctuation and avoid putting words in all capital letters. Empty space on the slide will enhance readability.
  4. Use contrasting colors for text and background. Dark text on a light background is best. Patterned backgrounds can reduce readability of text.
  5. Avoid the over-use of flashy transitions such as text fly-ins, animation and sounds. These features may seem impressive at first, but are distracting and get old quickly, so save them for that one time when they help you make a point. 
  6. If you use builds, have content appear on the screen in a consistent, simple manner; from the top or left is best. Only "build" screens when necessary to make your point because they can slow your presentation. 
  7. Use good quality images that reinforce and complement your message. Ensure that your images maintain their impact and resolution when projected on a larger screen. 
  8. Know how to and practice moving forward AND backward within your presentation. If possible, view your slides on the screen you'll be using for your presentation. Make sure they are readable from the back row seats. Text and graphics should be large enough to read, but not so large as to appear "loud". 
  9. Practice with someone who has never seen your presentation. Ask them for honest feedback about colors, content, and any effects or graphics you've included. 
  10. Do not read from your slides. The content of your slides is for the audience, not for the presenter. 
  11. Do not speak to your slides. Many presenters face the direction of their presentation rather than their audience. 
  12. Do not apologize for anything in your presentation. If you believe something will be hard to read or understand, don't use it. 
  13. Make sure you know how to pronounce everything in your presentation; feel free to ask me for help!

Note: Doing this 5 minutes before you present isn't very helpful.