Death by a thousand cuts or a brilliant presentation package?
MS PowerPoint is a powerful graphics programme that has transformed the manner in which we prepare and deliver presentations. You can create, customise, animate and print presentations. It enables you to communicate information clearly and effectively. Many computers come with this package already installed.
The MS PowerPoint version that I use is the 2003 package for Students and Teachers, working on an XP laptop. This package costs £40.00 from Amazon, if bought separately, and is operated through Windows. The 2003 version has been superceded by newer, more sophisticated versions, the latest being MS PowerPoint 2007. However, I still find the 2003 version perfectly adequate for my present needs.
There are many online training packages, much additional online support guidance available, as well as useful tuition books which you can peruse at your own pace. The ECDL qualification (European Computer Driving Licence) contains sufficient information to enable you to compose your own PowerPoint presentation with ease and confidence.
Gone for me are the flipcharts, the physical holding up of visual aids (pictures, artefact, etc.), the collections of little cards on a key-ring. Now one little flash-drive or CD Rom can be used to carry a wealth of graphically-organised information and notes to enable me to share my brilliant ideas, all written in a simple PowerPoint. The information can be presented on a large, interactive whiteboard at the front of the room, via the projector, or through the computer screen (in a small group situation.)
If you are a technophobe, be encouraged - young children can create PowerPoint presentations. Those of us who remember the old Commodore Pet or BBC computers of the early 1980s, may recall hours spent typing in long strings of commands using Basic, just to achieve the sight of eg a robot walking stiffly across the screen. Mastering MS PowerPoint is, in my opinion, much, much easier!
For me, a practising EAL teacher and staff trainer, Powerpoints have a dual purpose:
* as a useful teaching aid,
* as an easy way to share information with adults.
Key data about progress, achievements, market trends, indeed all types of statistical analysis, can be easily and clearly presented to your audience, supported by the relevant charts, tables, graphs, photos, pictures or video clips. All of this being done through high impact, hopefully dynamic presentations.
However, it does require perseverance and a lot of practice to master all the skills required to create and insert complicated graph, video clips, etc.
What I would like to do is to share a few simple tips as to how I use this package.
What is a PowerPoint presentation?
A PowerPoint presentation contains a series of slides united by a common theme. The first slide is called a 'master slide' and contains the title of the presentation. You can add as many information-carrying slides as is necessary. It is wise not to exceed ten to twenty slides, as it is difficult for the audience to maintain concentration and to absorb new information when expected to focus on a large number of slides. Twenty slides can provide you with the basics for an hour long talk. Forty slides will have your audience reaching for their matchsticks to prop open their eyes. To maintain your audience's interest and attention, your presentation should be tightly-focussed, meaningful and interesting to the receivers. It is a good technique to intersperse the slides with relevant anecdotes illustrating the point you are making, as well as occasional practical activities.
How do I create an interesting PowerPoint?
Having decided on the structure and content of your talk, you need to create your slides, which will provide the framework of your talk.
There is a wide range of possible slide layouts, which can be accessed through 'Format' on the toolbar. These could include text only, text plus content (eg text plus graph), title and chart, and many other possible layouts.
Similarly, there is a big selection of pre-created slide designs, though personally I think a fancy design detracts from the clarity with which you are presenting the information. So I use a plain or two-coloured background, using the special fill effects. In our Local Authority, official training presentations should be made using the authority's official design, which contains certain colours and our logo. Thus uniformity of presentations is achieved.
There are many different fonts to choose from. It is wise to choose a simple one, such as times New Roman or Comic Sans MS. The font can be any size, but don't make it too small, and any colour. I advise you to choose a dark colour such as black, as it will provide a clear contrast with the lighter background, thus making it easier to read, particularly for those people who may have problems with their sight or dyslexia.
Depending on the purpose of your presentation, you can use bullet points, which can be made to appear one at a time, using the excellent special effects to be found under slide show - custom animation. You can even have a picture of, say, a witch, flying around on the slide. However, do not be tempted to use too many special effects as this will distract the audience and detract from the success of your presentation.
It is possible to pre-record speech, music or other sounds, linking the sounds to individual slides. The slides can be advanced at the click of the mouse or automatically after a preset interval. You can also pre-record continuous narration, setting the slides so that they advance automatically (accompanied by the narration) at the speed which you have selected. This ability to pre-record sound is particularly useful if you wish to deliver a dual language presentation, where the written words are in English, but the recorded words are in, for example, French. This is useful when addressing a multi-lingual audience.
Delivering your PowerPoint presentation - a few helpful hints
1. Do not turn your back on the audience when you need to refer to the slide on the screen. It is possibly to see the same slides of the computer screen in front of you.
2. Your audience is literate. Older children / adults are capable of reading the slides for themselves, so allow sufficient time for them to do so and to internally process the information before you expand each point.
3. Use a flash-pen to point to specific areas of the slide, rather than vainly struggle to reach that point on the large display screen with your hand or a ruler.
4. Do not be too ambitious in the amount of material that you wish to deliver.
5. Use relevant illustrations to brighten up some slides.
6. Do not use too many special effects.
7. Check that you have been consistent on the choice of font used.
8. My final slide for a formal presentation would thank the audience, ask if there are any questions, and show a request that they complete the evaluation forms.
As an EAL teacher, working with pupils who have no or little English, I find MS PowerPoint a particularly useful tool for pre-teaching and consolidating everyday vocabulary in a highly visual manner. There are many free PowerPoints available to download on the internet, especially on school and teacher websites. But I prefer to create my own, using clipart, photos and home-made video clips.
My favourite application of the MS PowerPoint is to create short, simple stories, for example showing the story of Christmas, or of a child being sick and being seen by the doctor. I then encourage my (shy) EAL pupils to record the captions or narrative for me. And perhaps to experiment with the special effects or background colour, thus enhancing their ICT skills as well as encouraging clear speech. (If you would like further information of work that I have put onto the internet, please feel free to send me a message and I will send you the appropriate website information. )
I think that MS PowerPoint is easy and fun to use. It is versatile as it can be used for formal presentations, for educational and fun presentations. However, it can take quite a while to become a really confident and competent producer of really good presentations.
(Cross-posted on other istes.)
I think that Microsoft Powerpoint 2003 is the best software out there for creating and displaying presentations. It lets you create presentations for anything you like such as a work or school presentation.
The software enables you to create any number of slides that you wish to include in a particular presentation. On each slide Microsoft Powerpoint 2003 enables you to add text, add images, and add sound if you wish. Microsoft Powerpoint 2003 then allows you to format this text, images, or sound. For example you can change the font type, change the font size, change the font colour, resize and crop images, and change the sound.
Powerpoint is also great because it allows you to give certain effects to anything on a slide such as text or an image. For example when you play the presentation and you click the slide the title will appear but will be rotating before it appears. This gives the presentation that extra effect because it would be boring if each slide just displayed instantly when clicked on. Microsoft Powerpoint 2003 also allows you to adjust the amount of time that the text will rotate for.
When the slide show runs it will display all of the sections you have added to each of the slides and will run in full screen so your slides show up nice and big on the screen. This great if you are giving an important presentation at work, for example, because everyone will be able to see your presentation clearly.
Overall this is a great piece of software that allows you to create and display presentations professionally. I also think that it is easy to use and that anyone new to the software would not have much difficulty in using it. This is a great product that I would recommend to anyone looking for a simple way to create presentations.
I must admit that I am becoming more Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 everyday. Throughout university I used the package for presentations, a teaching resource and even web design. I have used the software for photo slideshows and to create videos. I know teach adults how to use PowerPoint within the workplace and hope this review will help you get the most out of the package most people have installed on their computer.
Microsoft PowerPoint ©
PowerPoint was first developed by Bob Gaskins and Dennis Austin on behalf of Forethought. It was released in 1987 for Apple Macintosh and only worked in black and white, later appearing in colour on a later colour model of Macintosh.
Microsoft bought the software later in 1987 and in 1990 the Microsoft version was produced and has been part of the Microsoft Office package since.
I must admit that I have seen many changes to this package. When I first used it in 1996 for a school presentation it was basic and rather slow. I now use the package for interactive learning games, slideshows and the common presentation.
There are so many features on Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 © that to name them all would be rather ridiculous. I have chosen to review the features that most people would use.
First of all it's best to choose a page layout. PowerPoint comes with several pre-set page layouts such as a slide with a text holder, image holder and title holder. These slide layouts vary so you can experiment with where the text is placed or what place holders you use. It is possible to place a holder for graphs, organisational charts and images/video. If you are keen to design your own slide there is also the possibility for this by using the blank slide you can then add text boxes and images to suit your preferences.
One you have chosen your slide layout you can use the slide layout icon to choose a preset background. There are a few lovely backgrounds that all look professional. It is also possible to create your own using the Master Slide feature and adding the slide to the library.
If you do not want to use a set slide design or would like each slide to be different PowerPoint makes it really easy to change the slide background to your own design. Each slide can be a different colour or you could have every slide one colour. You can also alter the gradient, texture and pattern of the slide. In the view tab you can use a Master slide which will allow you to keep the presentation the same throughout. You can save the master slide if you use the program for a business and require a professional company image.
Text can be a powerful tool within a presentation but too much can be a little bit on an 'overkill' I tend to find that some companies love "death by PowerPoint" by making employees sit through 40 slides of drivel. The best presentations I have seen are the ones that take short snippets of information and create text effects such as flashing text, text that enters slowly or text that has an effect applied such as embossed text even text that has been italicised or changed to a bold font is powerful.
It is easy to change the size, font, effects and colour of text using the standard toolbar, there are many other ways such as changing the animation scheme of using the drawing toolbar to add shadows around text boxes that can also make a dramatic and motivating effect to text.
As an NVQ assessor I have had to sit through over 15 hours of presentations on some very boring subjects such as abrasive wheels, cardiac casualties, stress and creating a sickness record these presentations however have been the most interesting and certainly the most enjoyable to watch. This was due to the amount of time the creator had spent structuring the text within each slide to maintain audience interest and motivation.
The use of Clip Art and images can either 'make or break' a presentation and luckily PowerPoint is so easy to use, inserting a picture from the clip art gallery or from a folder on the PC is simple.
Clip Art in the gallery can be added to a slide and then the picture toolbar can be used to crop, colour and edit the photo to fit the theme of the presentation. It is also possible insert an animated clip art picture which can make the presentation more interesting to watch.
It obviously goes without saying that the clip art image/picture should be linked to the topic of the presentation its no good talking about cardiac emergencies and then putting a picture of a butterfly. I find that with all Microsoft Office packages inserting an image from the clip art gallery can be very easy. It is also possible if connected to the internet to download additional clip art images from the Microsoft Website.
As well as a clip art gallery there is a sound gallery with a selection of everyday sounds. The sounds range from sirens, to the sound of a hoover. It is also possible to download short musical clips.
I created a presentation for a class a few months ago and decided it would be nice to create a 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' game using all of the above tools and downloaded tunes from the show. I used the show theme tune and clapping sounds from the sound gallery to make an interactive game. This went down very well and inspired some of the students to cerate their own game show from countdown to Deal or No deal.
It is also possible to film your own video and have this imbedded into a slide so that it plays when the slide is clicked or follows on from the previous slide. I have created a few of these presentations for my degree when I had to produce a war time presentation that lasted 30 minutes. I had to keep text minimal and rely on commentary and video. I used all of the above features to create a full length video. The show worked very well.
Slide transition and animation
Once you have designed your slide it is possible to add animation and timings. If you choose to time your presentation so that it can be watched without you talking through it - e.g. a game show/video for DVD etc then you are able to time your presentation to nearest second. If you would like your presentation to progress after each mouse click then again this is possible by using the standard tool bar and menu options. This is quite simple and it really adds to the final effects of the presentation.
You can make the slide appear from the page or the slide can spin in the middle of the page, transitions make the presentation more appealing and interesting to watch.
I use PowerPoint 2003 to create my presentations that said in the last few months I have used versions 97, 2000 and 2007 and all packages work on the same basis. I obviously find 2003 easier to use as I am most familiar with this version.
I would say that the more advanced the package becomes the better it is to use as there are more options that make the presentation more powerful. I am able to use 2007 and I am sure if I had to change from 2003 at any point I wouldn't mind.
I learned the other day that it is possible to save a PowerPoint presentation in older version if you intend to show it on a computer installed with an earlier version of PowerPoint. The format does change slightly, and animation schemes, transitions may be limited on an older package but it will still do the job it was intended for and that is to assist you with a presentation.
I have touched on a few presentation skills above but will go into a little more detail. A program such as PowerPoint is brilliant if you have the presentation skills to use with it. PowerPoint is very powerful but if you use too much detail, not enough detail, too many pictures or no pictures at all the program is practically useless.
1) - If you have a lot of writing to use write all of this in the notes at the bottom and place bullet points on the slide. You can then print out notes pages for you to red from and the audience can have handouts where they write any notes. It can be quite boring to have a presentation where the presenter is reading from the slides, to be fair the audience could read these themselves.
2) - using animation and slide transitions can make the presentation more appealing, do be cautious of what you use too many flashing colours and fast moving slides can be off-putting and distracting making the presentation pointless.
3) - Try to use text that is large enough to be seen but not too large. When choosing colours for the text and background chose colours that will look good together such as cream and black or black and white. Bear in mind that some people (especially those with dyslexia) find c pale coloured background and a dark text easier to read. If you use colours such as orange and green or red and blue this can be quite tiring on the eyes and give people headaches, they won't appreciate that.
4) - If you wish to place a logo at the top of every slide and the logo is not in the same place every time it can look a bit odd when moving through the pages, the master slide will prevent this from happening. It will look more professional if every slide follows a pattern.
5) Obviously when giving a PowerPoint presentation remain confident and speak clearly, a well designed presentation should help you accomplish this anyway, if you have a well planned presentation the necessary speaking skills will come naturally.
My dad used a PowerPoint presentation in an interview using the same tips above and he was successful. The interviewer said it was the best interview he had seen the presentation was professional and helped my dad with his nerves as he felt better prepared. The interviewer could see that dad was prepared and looked very professional; this led to dad being offered the job.
If you have not already tried PowerPoint give a god, you can download it free on a 30 day trial from Microsoft. Most computers come with the Office Suite, if it's not yet installed but on the MS Office CD see if you can give it a go.
LEND POWER TO YOUR POINTS !!
President Bill Clinton said a good visual is better than thousand words, wait he is not a president anymore, but he was when he said this in Hyderabad, He was being shown different aspects of India in Hi-tech City on a POWER POINT presentation, projected on a white screen.
Microsoft POWERPOINT is presentation software, the word presentation became famous in various fields only after advent of Microsoft PowerPoint, and this program changed everything related to presentations, earlier it was an effort to make your points understood; now you can present them in audio, visual and graphics format, this definitely shortened projects execution time.
I remember reading about James Gorman of Merrill Lynch had to drag a live bull to make his point to the board of directors, now we have power point the same message can be conveyed more strongly and artistically to all directors in this world.
The times of hustlers are over, a humble Doctor or a seclusion loving Scientist can convince a skeptical room full of crowd all by himself, without opening his mouth and forcing himself into embarrassing situation.
Developers, Scientist, Engineers, Sellers, Buyers, Investors, Students, Doctors, Ranchers, Rodeo Riders, Inventors, Lawyers, Yoga Gurus, Road side vendors all are gleefully making their points easily without PowerPoint.
I am convinced since my childhood that to attract and retain information in our minds, some jazz and distortions is required, this jolts our senses and makes it possible to converge on a single point of concentration, and PowerPoint can be used to bring that concentration in its viewers attractively.
The distortions of human figures and presenting them in vibrant colors in Comic Books were some early presentations I got exposed in my childhood, I do remember very specifically many stories of my early Comics, my point is PowerPoint software is a very good tool in modern day for anyone and everyone. Microsoft Office itself has liberated us all in many of our needs; we can write our communications on WORD, do our calculations on EXCEL and market them as products thru POWERPOINT all by ourselves.
POWERPOINT is pre supplied with ready presentations on different topics, they are useful to get to know the features of POWERPOINT, we can take a look at all the presentations to form an Idea for our own presentations, and POWERPOINT has standard Menus, like: File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Tools, Slideshow, Window, and Help.
Pcmag.com is a good resources for POWERPOINT and just do general search in Yahoo to download add-ons if you want, but beware of download from internet, there is always a chance of VIRUS. Attach a few computer accessories like webcam, Scanner, Projector and a white screen you are in business of presentations. The files saved are .pps these files contain the frames of animations, durations defined, placements of graphics, text boxes, audio specifications, and effects definitions etc., the editing of slides is easy they are in drag and drop format, experimenting with PowerPoint can be very learnable.
Sir Winston Churchill was a great man , his wit, his education, his observant nature and his character is very famous all over the world, every youth is quiet impressionable, Sir Winston Churchill was a frank person, very unlike British tight lipped fame. If I can make a POWERPOINT presentation to show that Sir Winston Churchill owes his nature to HYDERABAD where he was posted as a young soldier in his impressionable youth. I can add a few pictures and tasty animations to highlight my point, it will be difficult for people to deny it, and they will all accept it that is the power this software gives to your good points. We in Hyderabad have not forgotten his association with our city anyway.
Some network marketing companies are fooling people with their PowerPoint presentations and make gullible folks to sell their memberships for US$ 100/- so that after recruiting 100 members they will give you a Gold coin memento, you give the company 100 x 100 and you get a coin of us$ 250 or 300, it is bad business made possible only with POWERPOINT presentations. Please dont use your software for those purposes, dont make others rich, make yourself rich and let POWERPOINT do its magic for you.
The canvas of Slides is like a COLLAGE painting, using different materials (Paint, Dust, Paper, Threads, Foils etc.,) and make a beautiful canvas out of it all, my brain tells me you can use PowerPoint in unending loops to display your product pictures on your roadside kiosk. Are you tongue tied, dont worry go to your PC unleash the artist in you and make your point : kids can tell their father what is on their mind, shy girls can say their minds to their beloved by a tasteful presentation, angry wife can present her point without harming the harmony of the living space. An employee can address his cruel boss for the raise he is waiting for since ages. A doctor can explain his surgery to pacify his patient's fears; a boy can shame his class bully with this fantastic software.
There are many other places we can use POWERPOINT without wasting energy and solve the needs in peaceful and more humanely ways.
Yo world lending power to your points thru POWERPOINT is fun.