Presenting stuff is one of my favourite things, and recently I’ve had a few questions about various parts of my process, so I’ve pulled them all together here. Will add to this as more crops up…
Slides every presentation needs
Always have a title slide with just a Title. That way, when you move forward to the Introduction slide you can briefly check the slides moved on successfully before you get into it. It also means the thumbnail image on your computer makes it obvious which presentation it is.
Always have a (quick) intro of ‘This is my name, my Social Media/email, this is my expertise/job title’ – you want them to remember you, right??? I put my photo with this, because it means if someone has the slides later they can remember who you are, but you don’t have to.
And always have ‘These are the <n> things we’ll cover today’ bullet points (<n> = whatever number you are doing, usually 3-7). I myself put this on the same slide as the above, so people have time to take my details while I introduce things, without having to pause unnaturally on ‘hey look this is me’.
Copy these bullet points to the final slide for a ‘These are the [3-7] things we covered today’, and add a “Thank You for listening, I’ll take any questions you have now” bit.
Clean, uncluttered slides help people to focus better on your main points, which helps to make them memorable.
If presenting online, consider if you can make your background slightly off-white and your text a little larger than normal – people have bright monitors and spend a long time staring at their screens, so this helps prevent eye-strain and caters better to dyslexic people (10% of us!).
I usually try for about 2 minutes talking for each content slide, and I put only bullet points, smart art and images on the slides, I keep the detail for my notes.
Practice your overall time with a lap counter: there’s rarely a case when running over is welcome. If you need to trim, think about removing stuff that is mainly for edge cases, or levels of technical detail that people could just ask you about afterward instead.
Structure things progressively; Break them into an overview, and then more detail about each part of the whole.
Groups of 3 or 4 elements look the best for smart art, concepts, etc.
I write detailed slide notes, though you may choose to just use bullet points if that feels more natural for you. I make sure to use sentences that sound natural to speak, have colloquialisms, and mmmmm… pauses, you know? This way when I’m reading them, I still sound natural.
Using Powerpoint over webcam
If you go to Slideshow – Set Up Slideshow and choose ‘Browsed by an individual (window)’ you can Play your PowerPoint without it taking up your whole screen. That way, you can have your notes open in Word at the same time.
If you keep that word doc in the middle 1/3 of the screen, and scroll as you go so you always have the paragraph you’re reading sort of near the top of the window, it makes it look like you’re looking at your camera more (assuming your camera is on the top middle of your monitor). If you’re feeling confident, throw in the occasional glance directly at it, when you need to emphasise a particular point, but hover your mouse over the text you left off at so you don’t get confused and lose your place.
Start your presentation before sharing your screen, so that you share the Presenter View and not PowerPoint itself.