Extreme Makeover: PowerPoint Edition – Season 2

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  • Extreme Makeover: PowerPoint Edition Season 2 AIR Forum, May 2013 Mary Harrington, University of Mississippi Rebecca Carr, AAU Data Exchange Mona Levine, University of Maryland UsingtherealityTVshowasourinspiration,MaryandRebeccadecidedtoseekoutIRcolleagueswhoarefacinghardshipsandareinneedofhopeaswellasamakeoverofaPowerPointpresentation.WeultimatelyselectedMonaLevinefromtheUniversityofMaryland,andapresentationshehasgivenatconferencesaboutthebenefitsofchoosingorseekingoutnontraditionalrolesforanInstitutionalResearchofficeThesearethefirstfiveslidesinthepresentation.

    Thefirstthingtorememberisthatitsallaboutcommunication.Wepresentinordertoprovideinformationtoanaudience.Wewantthataudiencetolearnfromus,tounderstandsomethingnewordifferent.Iftheaudiencedoesntknoworcareaboutourtopicwhenthepresentationends,thenwehavenotcommunicatedanditwasnotasuccessfulpresentation.Thus,weshouldwanttodotakeeveryadvantagetomaximizethechancesforsuccessfulcommunication.Yourjobaspresenteristosell,tomakeapoint,togetpeopleexcitedaboutyourideas.SethGodinsaysifallyouwanttodoiscreateafileoffactsandfigures,thencancelthepresentationandsendinareport.Notonlydoesourcontenthavetobeinteresting,itshouldhaveanemotionalcomponent.Ourbrainshavetwosides.Therightsideisemotionalandcreative;theleftsideisanalytical.Themosteffectivepresentationswillengagebothsidesofapersonsbraintoprovideinformation,aswellasinspirationandentertainment.

    Note:Throughtherestofthishandout,thisiconindicatestheslideisanexampleofbaddesign,evenifthecontentisgood.

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    Lay a Firm Foundation

    1. Answer the questions: Whats my point? Why does it matter? Beforeyoucreatethefirstslide,youshouldidentifythemainpointofyourpresentation.Whatisthesinglemostimportantmessageyouwantyouraudiencetotakeaway?Thenasyoucreatethecontentforyourpresentation,stepbackandaskyourself,doesthisslidereallycontributetomymainpoint?Ifnot,considerrevisingandremovingit.ThesecondquestionisWhydoesitmatter?Notwhydoesitmattertoyou,butwhydoesitmattertoyouraudience?Toomanypresenterssimplytellthestoryofwhattheydidontheircampus.Andwhilethatmaybeinteresting,itsnotveryeffectiveingettingyouraudienceinvolvedemotionally.Itismuchmoreeffectivetodescribehowyourexperiencecanbeadaptedbyyouraudiencetoimpacttheirinstitution.Tellthestoryinawaythatmakesitmattertotheaudience.

    Select an Architectural Style

    2. Use an appropriate template. AvoidPowerPointtemplates.Mosttemplatescontaindistractingelementssuchasbordersorshadingthatcandetractfromyourmessage.Striveforsimplicityandreadability.Excludeallnonessentialitems.Besurethatyourslidesdonthavelogosorothernonessentialitemssuchasfootersanddates.Itsbesttocreateatemplatethatconsistsonlyofasolidbackground.Keepthefocusonwhatyouwanttocommunicateandnotonhowthatmessageisdecorated.Whencreatingyourtemplate,keepinmindtheadviceofFrenchwriterAntoinedeSaintExupry,Adesignerknowshehasachievedperfectionnotwhenthereisnothinglefttoadd,butwhenthereisnothinglefttotakeawayChoosecolorcombinationspromotereadability.Ifyouraudienceisunabletoreadyourslides,thenyourmessagehasbeencompromised.Ifyouwillbepresentinginadarkenedroom,thenlighttextonadarkbackgroundworkswell.Butifyouwillbeinaroomwiththelightsonorwithambientlight,thendarktextonalightbackgroundworksbetter.Selectasansseriffont.Sansseriffonts(translatedaswithoutserifs),suchasCalibri,ArialandTrebuchet,produceacleaner,lesscluttered,easiertoreadlook.Seriffonts,suchasGaramond,TimesNewRomanorCenturySchoolbook,haveprotrudingfeet(calledserifs)thatextendbeyondthemainshapeoftheletters.Theserifsarebeneficialinprinteddocumentswithalotoftext,buttheywillbeblurredonthescreen.(Besuretoselectstandardfontsorembedfontsinyourpresentation.Ifthefontsyouusearenotinstalledonthepresentationmachine,itwilluseasubstitutefont,whichcanchangethelookofyourpresentation.)Usefontsthatare24pointorlarger.Displayingtextthatistoosmalltoreadwillcompromiseyourmessageandfrustrateyouraudience.Ifyouhavemoretextthancanreasonablyfitonascreenusingatleast24pointfonts,theneither:createanotherslideorshortenyourtext.Thefollowingarebefore,duringandaftertitleslidesfromtheMarylandpresentation.Themostvisuallyinterestingthingsonthebeforepagearenotrelatedtothecontentofherpresentation.Theyellowdrawsoureyesdowntothebottomofthepageandawayfromthetitleofthe

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    presentation.Ifcommunicationisthetransferofemotion,thentheresnotalotofemotionhere.Thefontsizesarebigenough,butthetitlefontinblackisaseriffontthatisahardertoreadthanthesansseriffontinred.Monasstaffrevisedtheslide.Therevisionismorememorableandinterestingandonlyusessansseriffonts,butitstillhasacoupleofnonessentialelements.Whenyoulookatthispage,theturtleshellandthetitledrawalltheattentionandblockthepictureinthebackground.Theafterrevisionretainstheinterestwiththepicture,butmakesitthemostprominentelementbyusingapartiallytransparentbackgroundcolor.Andbyremovingthenonessentialitems,thephotoandthetitle,whichhaveanobviousconnection,arewhatkeepyourattention.Thoughtheturtleshellisnonessentialbydesignstandards,itisimportanttoMonathattheschoollogobeshown.Whilebestpracticeswouldtellustoremoveit,therearetimeswhenyoumakeexceptionstotherules.

    Before Revised After

    Design a Framework

    3. Use effective visual images. Researchhasshownthatcommunicationisenhancedwhenaverbalmessageiscombinedwithapowerfulimageonthescreen.Ifyouwantpeopletolistentoyouandrememberwhatyousaid,findvisualimagesthatemotionallyconnectwiththeaudience.Usehighqualityphotos.Manyfreefilesareareavailableonline(butpayattentiontocopyrights)andaplethoraofprofessionalphotosareavailableatveryreasonablecosts(suchasatiStockphoto.com).Avoidclipart,sinceitcanmakeyourpresentationlookdatedandunprofessional.Incorporatingyourtextintothephotopresentsamoreunifiedandvisuallypleasingmessagethanhavingthemcompletelyseparate.

    ThefollowingarebeforeandafterslidesfromtheMarylandpresentation:

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    Before After

    4. For charts and graphs: Simplify, simplify, simplify. Peopleoftenwanttousegraphicsand3Dimagestomaketheirchartsandgraphslookfancy.decoratetheirdata,wheninfactthosetechniquesactuallyobscurethemessage.Thisaloneisabigtopic.Thebasicthingtorememberisthatyoushouldsimplifyyourchartssotheyareclearandfocusonthedatayouwantyouraudiencetounderstand.

    5. Minimize use of text. Rather,keepnarrativeinyouroralpresentationandoffthescreen.Itsnearlyimpossibleforapresentereventhemostexperiencedpresentertonotreadaslidethatcontainscompletesentences.Peoplecannotlistenandreadatthesametime,whichmeansthatcommunicationisinhibitedwhenthesamewordsarespokenanddisplayedonscreen,especiallysincewereadfasterthanwespeak(Paivio,2007).Mostpeoplespeakat150wordsperminuteandreadat250wordsperminute,whichmeansifyouhavelotsofwordsonyourslides,peoplecanreadfasterthanyoucanspeak.Inadditiontothegeneralruleofminimizingtheuseoftext,youshouldalsousebulletpointssparingly.GarrReynoldssaidYourpresentationisforthebenefitoftheaudience.Butboringanaudiencewithbulletpointafterbulletpointisoflittlebenefittothem.Ifyouwanttouseanoutlinetoorganizeyourtalk,keepitonpaperratherthanputtingitonscreen.Manytimesbulletpointsserveaspromptstothepresenter,sonothavingthemmakesthingsmorechallenging,butnothavingthemwillbemoreeffectiveincommunicatingwiththeaudience.

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    ThefollowingarebeforeandafterslidesfromtheMarylandpresentation.Theoriginalsimplyusesbulletpoints,whicharefairlydry,topresenttheinformation.Therevisedversionintroducestheideaofnontraditionalmanagementinthefirstslideandthedistinctionbetweenformalandinformalloansinthesecond.

    Before After 6. Eliminate the use of headings or titles unless they communicate the main message. Headingsshouldnotbeusedtointroduceoridentifythetopicoftheslide,thoughtheymaybeusefultocallattentiontothemainfindinginachartorgraph.Otherwise,theytendtoberedundantandshouldbedeleted.

    98%ofheadersareredundant

    0

    0.5

    1

    Redundantheaders Usefulheaders

    ThefollowingarebeforeandafterslidesfromtheMarylandpresentation:

    Before After 7. Use animation, slide transitions, audio, and video sparingly. ..andifused,dosoonlytoreinforceakeyconcept.Noexamplesareprovidedbecausetheywouldbedifficulttoillustrateinthiswrittenformat.Researchhasshownthatwhenthereismovementonthescreen,theaudiencesattentionisimmediatelydrawntothemovement,thusbreakingtheirconcentrationonthepresentationcontent.Audiencesjudgepresentationsontheirinterestinthecontent,notonhowmanyfancyfeaturesareusedintheslides.Becauseitisextremelydifficulttoportraymovementinastaticdocumentlikethis,wecannotprovideexamplesofthebeforeandafterslidesassociatedwiththistip.8. Highlight the most important information. Byhighlightingthemostimportantinformationandpresentingonlyasmuchdataascanbereadilyunderstood,theaudiencewilleasilybeabletodiscernthemainmessage.Slidetransitionscanbeusedtobuildyourcontentincrementallyandfocusyouraudiencesattention.SeeParadi(2009)foranexampleofusingbuildstopresentachartinPowerPoint.

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    Amorefundamentalwaytohighlightinformationanddrawattentiontothatinformationisbytheuseofcolor,largerfonts,orboldface.Sincecoloristhemostcomplicated,thefollowingisabriefintroduction.Colorhasthreebasicproperties.Hueisthenameofthecolor.Valuereferstohowlightordarkthehueisandintensityreferstohowbrightordullthehueis.Thesequalitiesareindependentofeachother.Anyhuecanbelight,midtone,ordark;anyhuecanbeintenseorneutral.WealllikelyrememberthecolorwheelfromgradeschoolandthattheprimarycolorsareRed,BlueandYellow,whichareorganizedinatriangleonthewheel.NestledbetweentheprimarycolorsarethesecondarycolorsofPurple,Green,andOrange.

    Colorsthatappearonoppositesidesofthecolorwheelarecomplementarycolors.TheprimarycombinationsareRed/Green,Orange/Blue,andPurple/Yellow.Whenplacednexttoeachother,complementarycolorsappearbrighterandtheirintensityisheightened.Colorschemesbasedoncomplementarycolorcanresultinvibrations thataredistractinganddifficulttolookat.Asshownhere,themiddlesetismoredifficulttoreadthaneitheroftheothertwo.Thiscomplementarycombinationmakesthetexthardtoread.Analogouscolorsarenexttoeachotheronthecolorwheel.Generallyspeakinganalogouscolorstendtocreateharmonyorunity,butyoumayneedmorecontrast.Oneimportantthingtorememberisthatcoloriscontextualandweunderstanditinrelationtoitsenvironment(Bowers,1999).Inotherwords,anindividualcolorwillchangeasthecolorssurroundingitchange.Thesegreyboxesareallthesamecolor,butwhentheyaresurroundedbydifferentcolorstheyseemdifferent.Specifically,theoneontheleftlooksalotdarkerthantheoneontheright.Soacolormayberightinonecontextbutnotinanother.

    Allcolorshaveatemperature,whichreferstoitsrelativewarmthorcoolness.Thetemperatureofcolorscanaddanemotionalmessagetothegraphicandaffectshowtheyappearonthepage.

    Coolcolorslikepurple,blueandgreentendtohaveacalmingeffect.Theyappearsmallerthanwarmcolorsandvisuallyrecedeonthepage.

    Warmcolorsenergizeratherthancalmandappearmoreprominentthancoolcounterparts.So,aredcanvisuallyoverpowerablue,evenifusedinequalamounts.

    Neutralcolorsofblack,white,silver,gray,andbrownputthefocusonothercolorsortonedowncolorsthatmightotherwisebeoverpoweringontheirown.

    Tousecolortohighlightinformation,usebrightercolors,darkercolors,orcolorswithawarmerhue.

    Curb Appeal Wechooseournewsstationsatleastpartlyforthepersonalityofandouremotionalattachmenttothepersonpresentingthenews,whetherthatpersonisDianeSawyer,BrianWilliams,ScottPelleyorJonStewart.Thepersonalityofyourpresentationcanbeasimportantasthecontent.9. Engage your audience. Regardlessofhowwelldesignedyourslidesare,thesuccessorfailureofyourpresentationwillhingeonhoweffectivelyyouengageyouraudience.Withinreasonandinawaythatfitsyourpersonality,bepassionateaboutyourtopic.Iftheaudiencecanttellthatthetopicyourepresentingisinterestingtoyou,itwontbeinterestingtothem.Theslidesshouldservetoenhanceyouroralpresentation,letthemhelpyou.Bulletpointsarenotpassionate,noteveniftheyrehighlydecorated.

    Complementary colors

    Analogous colors

    Not complementary colors

    Complementary colors

    Not complementary colors

    Color is contextual

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    Startyourpresentationwithabang.Didyouknowmostaudiencemembershavemadeuptheirmindaboutyourpresentationbythethirdslide?Ifyoubeginwithaheavilybulletpointedagendaandobjectives,youvealreadylostmostoftheaudience.Instead,getthemengagedfromtheverybeginning.MonadidagoodjobofthisbystartingwithaquotefromRobertFrostsomethingratherunexpected.Itwasthoughtprovokingandprovidedthethemefortheentirepresentation.

    Besuretopractice,practice,practice.Youcantbepassionateandengagingunlessyouknowyourmaterial.Themoreyoupractice,thebetteryoullget.This

    approachtakespracticebecauseyoucannolongerdependuponyourslidestopromptyouwhattosaynext.Youneedtoknowyourmaterialwell.Plananactivementalbreakevery1520minutestokeepyouraudienceengaged.Itsnearlyimpossibleforpeopletofocusforlongerthanthatwhenwearestrictlypassiveparticipants.Ifyourpresentationis20minutesorless,thenyoudontnecessarilyneedtoplanabreak.Ifitsmorethan20minutes,thenhaveyouraudiencedosomethingactive.Anactivementalbreakcan

    besomethingverysimple,suchasaskingtheaudiencetowritedownananswertoaquestionorhavingthemtoturntothepersonnexttothemanddiscussaparticulartopicfortwominutes.

    Createahandouttoaccompanyyourpresentation.Manypresenterstrytomaketheirslidesfunctionasbothahandoutandapresentationandendupfailingatbothattempts.Slidesshouldbedesignedtovisuallyenhance(notsummarize)yourpresentation.Handoutsshouldbewellwrittencomprehensivereports,containingdetailedinformationsuchas(dependingonyourcontent)complexcharts,data,analyses,andreferences..Thisapproachtakestime,butyouraudiencewillbegratefultotakeawellwrittendocumentwiththem,ratherthanjusttheirscribblednotes.

    The Reveal Thefollowingarethemadeoverslidesalongwithnotesaboutwhatwouldbesaidwhileeachisonscreen.

    WithapologiestoRobertFrost

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    Tworoadsdivergedinawood,andIItooktheonelesstraveledby,Andthathasmadeallthedifference.AsItalkwithyoutodayaboutgoingdowntheonelesstraveledby,Idlikeyoutothinkabout

    Whichpathwillyoutake?Hopefully,thispresentationwillhelpyouthinkaboutthatdecision,becauseitwillimpactbothyouasaprofessionalandyourinstitution.

    LetsassumewechosetotaketheRoadLessTraveled.Mile1onourjourneyisStrategicAlignment.

    Is your institution revising its strategic plan? Is it considering moving to a new student information system or administrative suite? If you are a public institution, is there concern from the legislature about the level of faculty teaching? Think about how you might join or partner with the offices with primary responsibility for these initiatives. For example, our office built a dashboard of data for the strategic plan steering committee (which included external constituencies). Also we served as the functional lead for the development of both faculty activity reporting and instructional workload reporting systems, working in partnership with the Division of Information Technology.

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    In a recent article, Gary Donhardt suggests the IR Office should expand beyond IPEDS and survey administration. Of co...