Neptun Tips for your Presentation
Holding a presentation is an important skill both during your studies and in your professional life. Presenting your product, your idea, or your field of expertise gives you the opportunity to put forward your creativity in the form of a multimedia-based presentation. In order to create a presentation that lets you stand confidently in front of a group of people, it is helpful to follow some basic rules in presentation design and to take a look other tools than just Microsoft PowerPoint.
Basic presentation rules
The 10/20/30 rule is a widely known basic guideline for concise presentations. It states that a good presentation shall consist of no more than 10 slides, take no more than 20 minutes, and shall use no font smaller than 30 points. Following this rule may help you avoid some of the most basic problems in presentations.
Simplicity and a proper selection of topics is another important way to keep your audience interested. By avoiding to overload them with topics, ideas, theories, you can focus on highlighting the most important aspects of what you want to present.
Since the time for your presentation is limited in most cases, it is important to exercise proper time management and keep your presentation as brief as your topic allows. This does not mean that you should forego important details. Instead, you should think about how your idea can be communicated to your audience in the most concise and efficient way.
Apart from a large font size, it is important to limit the text on your slides to the most important points. Having long sections of text on your slides, especially if you are going to read them to your audience, will only distract from the point you are trying to make.
Sway is a free program by Microsoft, which allows you to create and share interactive presentations. Sway is free with the use of a Microsoft account, but some features are limited if you do not have an Office 365 subscription. On Windows 10, you can download Sway through the Microsoft Store. For older operating systems, you can go to www.sway.com to download the program.
Instead of using individual slides like PowerPoint, Sway arranges content on large sheets, similar to a website or digital magazine. During your presentation, you can jump to different parts of the content in a prearranged fashion, or by freely shifting around. This enables you, for example, to effortlessly zoom in and out on details of a large map, a blueprint, or any other kind of large image. You can find guidelines for you first steps with Sway here.
Using Google Slides, you can create slideshows similar to PowerPoint without having to install any software and without having to buy an Office subscription. Since Google Slides is part of Google Drive, it allows you to easily add any content you have stored in your cloud and it offers an excellent integration with YouTube. Since your presentation will be stored in the cloud, collaborating on the same presentation with multiple people concurrently is easily possible. Additionally, you can access your presentation from your phone, your tablet, or any computer with an internet connection. You can find a good introduction to Google Slides here.
LibreOffice Impress is a free and open source, and it offers a similar feature set as Microsoft PowerPoint. It runs on most operating systems including Linux, and it allows you to export your presentations in multiple file formats. In true open source fashion, LibreOffice does not require you to buy a subscription or to create an account to use the software. You can find an introduction to Impress here.
If you want to create a presentation using interactive comics, audiobooks and videos, you might want to try the open source software Swipe. Swipe is optimized for touchscreens and creating your presentation is done in your browser via drag-and-drop. You can create up to five presentations for free. Afterwards, there is a subscription model for any further use of the program.
For most presentations, one basic rule holds true: less is more. The easy to remember 10/20/30 rule helps you avoid using too many slides and too much text, and to avoid inundating your audience with long monologues. Good slide design helps to guide your audience through your presentation and it supports the clarity of your argument. Since there are usually no rules on the software you are allowed to use, you may find is easier to create a captivating presentation by trying something else than PowerPoint. As always, you should not forget to cite all your content correctly and avoid using images or other media that are under a strict form of copyright. To learn more about correct citation, you can jump to our previous article on the topic.