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Communications & Medical Skills: Web Resources

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Tips for Effective PowerPoint Presentations

 

Fonts

  • Select fonts such as Arial or Helvetica. Avoid fonts such as Times New Roman or Palatino as they are sometimes more difficult to read.
  • Use no font size smaller than 24 point.
  • Clearly label each screen. Use a larger font (35-45 points) or different color for the title.
  • Use a single sans-serif font for most of the presentation. Use different colors, sizes and styles (bold, underline) for impact.
  • Avoid italicized fonts as they are difficult to read quickly.
  • No more than 6-8 words per line
  • For bullet points, use the 6 x 6 Rule. One thought per line with no more than 6 words per line and no more than 6 lines per slide
  • Use dark text on light background or light text on dark background. However, dark backgrounds sometimes make it difficult for some people to read the text.
  • Do not use all caps except for titles.

To test the font, stand back six feet from the monitor and see if you can read the slide.

Graphics and Design

  • Keep the background consistent and subtle.
  • Use only enough text when using charts or graphs to explain clearly label the graphic.
  • Keep the design clean and uncluttered. Leave empty space around the text and graphics
  • Use quality clipart and use it sparingly. The graphic should relate to and enhance the topic of the slide.
  • Try to use the same style graphics throughout the presentation (e.g. cartoon, photographs)
  • Limit the number of graphics on each slide.
  • Check all graphics on a projection screen before the actual presentation.
  • Avoid flashy graphics and noisy animation effects unless they relate directly to the slide.
  • Limit the number of transitions used. It is often better to use only one so the audience knows what to expect.

Color

  • Limit the number of colors on a single screen.
  • Bright colors make small objects and thin lines stand out. However, some vibrant colors are difficult to read when projected.
  • Use no more than four colors on one chart.
  • Check all colors on a projection screen before the actual presentation. They may project differently than what appears on the monitor.

General Presentation

  • Check the spelling and grammar.
  • Do not read the presentation. Practice the presentation so you can speak from bullet points. The text should be a cue for the presenter rather than a message for the viewer.
  • Give a brief overview at the start. Then present the information. Finally review important points.
  • It is often more effective to have bulleted points appear one at a time so the audience listens to the presenter rather than reading the screen.
  • Use a wireless mouse or pick up the wired mouse so you can move around as you speak.
  • If sound effects are used, wait until the sound has finished to speak.
  • If the content is complex, print out the slides so the audience can take notes.
  • Do not turn your back on the audience. Try to position the monitor so you can speak from it.

Obtaining Further Help

Further help can be obtained via a number of different methods:

  • Check the Library home page.
  • See the Library staff at the Reference/Circulation desk.
  • Use the Ask A Librarian from which we aim to respond to within 2 working days
  • Take a Library skills course - see our our Information Lieracy page.
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