I started using PowerPoint in the early 1990's as a trainer developing training materials. I needed an easy way to ensure the materials I taught were consistent from session to session and were easy to follow. Because I was training in the use of computer software, I needed to use a tool that allowed multiple computer programs to be run at the same time on a single machine. PowerPoint allowed me to not only run multiple programs, but also to swap between my presentation and the programs.
I also found
Publicity presentations for classes
Student evaluation summaries
As I consulted with other organizations, I learned of the many
different ways people used PowerPoint to communicate information.
The most common problems
Before we get to how people use PowerPoint, I want to introduce three terms I will be using throughout this book.
This book will use three terms to categorize the presentations created:
Speaker-led presentations are usually what most people think of when they think of PowerPoint. The presentation is designed with the intent that there will always be a speaker sharing the information in the slides. The information in the slides is not complete “ it is expected the majority of the information comes from the presenter. The slides should not be the focus of the audience's attention, the content should be. And if the speaker is not familiar with the mechanics of PowerPoint, the mechanics can easily become the focus.
This type of presentation still makes up the bulk of the PowerPoint work in today's business world. However, as you will see later in this chapter, people have taken the speaker-led approach and expanded it to create stand-alone presentations of all types.
Content slides, such as bulleted lists, graphs, pictures or multimedia slides, provide the bulk of the presentation material for a speaker-led presentation. Each content slide is expected to contain enough information to provide a summary of what the speaker is currently discussing or to add spice and interest to the material.
Keep textual slide content to a minimum when developing speaker-led presentations. You don't want your audience to
Everything on a speaker-led presentation should be in a font large enough for the whole room to see it.
Speaker-led presentations should be balanced. As a presenter, be careful to keep the audience interested in the content and avoid overdoing the extras, such as animations. Too many extras can cause some of the audience to stop listening to the speaker and start
Speaker-led presentation navigation is usually via simple mouse clicks and keyboard actions. The order in which information is presented is determined by the speaker, with some influence from the audience. While there may be links to hidden slides, FAQ slides and other presentations for additional information, the
Self-running presentations present enough information that the presentation can be
Self-running presentations should contain enough information to prevent confusion by those viewing the presentation. These presentations provide information such as:
These presentations are set to run unattended indefinitely. It is recommend that during the development of these presentations
One special use of a self-running presentation is an introductory loop for other presentations. In this case, a series of slides is set up to provide introductory information. When the main presentation is ready for use, a key press or a mouse click transitions from the introduction loop to the main presentation.
A kiosk presentation is a non-speaker led presentation in which all movement through the presentation is done via mouse clicks and automation instead of keyboard entry. You can think of these presentations as a middle ground between a speaker-led presentation and a self-running presentation.
Kiosk presentations depend heavily on animation and automation, and are not
A kiosk presentation must have navigation buttons to allow the user to move from slide to slide. While some slides may be linked and have automatic transitions, there still needs to be a way for the user to move around. Since the keyboard is disabled, movement through the presentation is done by right and left mouse clicks and clickable navigation buttons. If there are no navigation
This style of presentation is designed to provide detailed information to one viewer at a time. In the corporate world, you might see a product announcement done as a kiosk. The information provided is summarized on the main presentation slides, with links to product detail slides, web information, FAQ slides and other information. This idea can be taken a step further by linking a number of presentations to a main menu to provide a catalog of products and services.