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Microsoft PowerPoint is a great tool for creating presentations. It is versatile. You can embed text, images, videos, audios, charts, tables, and diagrams in the slides. There are also many selections of transitions and animations to make your presentation more interesting to the audience and facilitate the conveyance of critical messages. There are many templates and themes that you can choose, or you can design your own with ease. Microsoft PowerPoint is also easy to use and most people can learn the basic commands and options within a few hours.
Throughout the years, I have seen many good and bad presentations. I hereby summarize a few guidelines that may help make your presentations a bit better than the others.
Some people like cramping in as much information as possible in one slide. They use tiny words and pictures that are difficult to see even by a person with excellent eye sights sitting at the front row. When that happens, the audience will get tired easily and stop looking at your slides and start having their mind wandering. Even some of the audience may try to follow you, but your audience may likely get lost on the inundation of information. Please limit your information to four lines of text, excluding the title. Try to break your presentation in multiple slides if you have more than 4 points.
In one of best presentations that I have ever seen, the creator just put the titles in the slides without details. He presented the details by himself. The title of each slide has already pointed out the main point of the slide so the audience can follow him with ease. The presenter also used certain emphasis throughout his verbal presentation to effectively convey the messages. He sent out the presentation printouts after the presentation. If the audience needs to refer to the details, he or she can read the printouts later.
This statement does not need to be explained. However, I still see many people use tons of words that can be more effectively communicated by a single picture or a chart.
Animations can make your presentations livelier and more interesting, thus grabbing more attentions from your audience and enhancing the impact of the messages that you intend to deliver. The use of animations should be limited and relevant to the messages in your slides. Overusing animations will overwhelm your audience. When that happens, your audience may either (1) overlook the important messages, (2) not able to distinguish which messages are important, or (3) choose to turn off their attentions and stop receiving the messages you want to convey. Therefore, please remember to stick to the principal of “less is more” when you use animations in your PowerPoint presentations.
This has the same effect as the excessive use of Animations. Some transition may get a wow effect at the first sight, such as vortex, glitter, shred, and ripple. But when the audience sees them many times, the wow effect disappears and the impatience will start setting in because those special transitions take a long time to run. If you need to use them, please shorten the “Duration” to make them run faster.
Secondly, some people like to use a mix of transitions with no real purposes. The creators just randomly select some transitions to make their presentations look a bit interesting. However, some transitions can be used for a roll of several slides, especially when those slides are related to a single theme or topic.
Adding sounds, voices, and music can have a powerful impact on your PowerPoint presentations. They can deliver messages, convey moods, and make your presentations livelier, more interesting, and more appealing. Sound and music affects human emotions, such as joy, sadness, fear, and fondness. Researches have confirmed that such impact on emotions is cross-culture and cross-backgrounds.
You can use a combination of video clips, animations, and transitions to create a video. The video can be used for presentation, training, education, campaigning, and advertising purposes. There are several advantages of creating videos with PowerPoint:
A good projector with bright light is a must for presentations. You may also want to consider buying a remote control mouse and a laser pen. One of the best presentations I attended had the presenter walked around the stage and sometimes came down to the audience and interacted with the audience. He controlled the slides through his long-ranged remote control mouse which was tiny and shaped like a pen. His presentation was very successful and the presenter was in total control. The presenter moved the audience to any direction he wanted it to be. I regard part of his success is attributed to his hi-tech equipment. Without such equipment, the presentation would not have moved so smoothly and effectively.