Dan Meyer has a post in his ongoing jihad to improve slideshow design and delivery where he suggests jettisoning the words in your slideshow and just use pictures while you tell the story, and give your participants the backup materials in the handout. This has a lot of appeal over handing out your slides that are full of words, then you deliver the show reading the same words on the slides, and the participants’ handouts.
I’ve been trying to move away from text based slides. Look at what happened to my entry in the Four Slide Contest when I changed it to a preso for my fellow staff members:
The words disappear, but they didn’t really. I said them instead.
So I try to do a deconstruction of my PowerPoint technique. First step, put in the outline in words using the plain vanilla default.
Next, go into the master, change the fonts. I used Century Gothic for title (sans-serif) and Century Schoolbook (serif). I got in the habit of using serif fonts for body text when I used to create a newsletter because it’s easier to read. You may have another font favorite, basically, get it out of Arial which is deadening to look at since it’s ubiquitous. Copy the outline into notes for each slide. Change the font color on the body text to white. Yes, white. I’ll explain later.
Now, we start adding the visuals. Layer photos/images over the body text leaving the title. If there is a diagram, layer that over. Set up animations, to have everything appear in the correct order. Add [Clicks] in notes and links in outline. Adjust the text, etc. to fit visuals as needed.
Print out the outline as your handout. You may prefer handing it out with the slides and the notes, but really, I’m a cheap Norwegian and I’m not going to get color copies to hand out, so the visuals will lose something. In addition, I have some animation effects (subtle, no flying letters here), that get lost. You can printout the Notes to help you in delivering the preso. The notes I have are not comprehensive because I like to speak extemporaneously and feel comfortable with a rough outline of points. These may mean this ends up being a dog of a presentation. Say on slide 2 or 3 I start listing the credentials and studies of Vygotsky, and Bloom, instead of an anecdote about learning how to cook with your grandma, it would stink.
I put the slideshows up as PowerPoints to let folks see the back end. Normally, I’m a SlideShare gal. I apologize to the Mac/Keynote world out there in advance but I felt this was necessary for transparency. I’m not betting on a huge audience, but if a Mac (or Linux) user want to see these in a format they can read, I’ll set it up on SlideShare.