Reclaiming the power of PowerPoint

Author: Jamie Mitchell (Graduate Intern) on behalf of Chang Ge

Everyone uses PowerPoint, or at least they used to.

Let’s be honest, we have all sat through PowerPoint presentations that are made up of an endless flow of text heavy slides. However, Chang Ge, lecturer in the International Business School, believes that it is not the tool that’s the real cause of these uninspired presentations.

Chang ran a session as part of the Digital and Creative Learning week, presenting the case that Power Point, when used effectively and creatively, is a perfectly suitable tool for making an engaging presentation. This post outlines her main points.

Nowadays, there are a whole range of options when it comes to creating an engaging presentation. PowToon, Prezi, Sway, Spark and PowerPoint are all viable options, are commonly used and familiar to students, and are all freely available. However, this workshop was geared towards the user who is most comfortable using PowerPoint, and Chang went through essential tips for using it to give a good presentation – which can be readily applied to any presenting tool. The outcome being that the participants went away with a better understanding of what makes a good presentation for their students.

Chang began by pointing out the fundamental ‘Do Not’s’ for PowerPoint – the big two being:

  1. Avoid text heavy slides that require you to read them like you’re doing karaoke.

This can be easily avoided by sensible decisions when planning your presentation. If there is a large amount of relevant text it would be best to give it straight to the student or audience as a pdf or print out for them to digest at their leisure. Slides should be there to support you, not detailing everything you have to say.

  1. Don’t have too many slides (or at least disguise the number if there are a fair few.)

The group was asked what the ideal number of slides is and ‘10-12’ was the response.

Chang revealed that the total number isn’t actually relevant. It’s the way your content is linked together that’s the crucial factor and that can disguise how many slides you have and retrain the audience’s attention. This can be achieved with simple yet linear transitions that create continuity.

Check out how this can be achieved and more in parts 2 & 3 (to be published).

Chang Ge is a Lecturer in the Lincoln International Business School.