I was excited to be on the cutting edge when I first used the Corel Presentation program that came with the Word Perfect Suite back in the early nineties. The concept and possibilities were fascinating. Programs like Power Point have since become a crutch for incompetent presenters and I have abandoned it use almost entirely (only under direct orders). Any good presentation should stand on it’s own with slides added for emphasis, not the other way around. The presentation should be written to be given with or without slides, and then do it without slides. The fact that it is being used by everyone should tell us that something is wrong.
Today, I have rules for staff regarding Power Point usage based on George Orwell’s Rules for writing:
- Never use a document or spread sheet as a slide,
- Never put a lot of information on a slide where a little will do,
- If is possible to cut a slide out, always cut it out,
- Never use text where you can use a picture,
- Never use foreign, scientific, or other jargon references if you can find an everyday equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Tip: add a blank slide between slides where the presentation does not relate directly to the slide on the screen. Present, then show the slide for emphasis. If you are going to print the whole presentation, skip the slides.
Frankly, if I never have to sit through another Power Point presentation I will die a happy man.
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