In an era where we are supposed to be promoting the use of technology, I have to admit that there is one tech tool that I just see as overused and poorly applied. It’s PowerPoint.
When I taught instructional technology at Temple University, I devoted a few lessons to the appropriate usage of PowerPoint. I covered things like appropriate contrast between background and text, how to appropriately insert graphics, and how to properly use the animation tools. I often shared some more horrendous slides, like these
When using PowerPoint correctly, it can support creating an engaging presentation with visual supports for the spoken word. Most of the time, though, I see PowerPoint presentations crammed with too much information and presenters read the slides instead of using them as a place to provide us with visual cues for their talk.
It is cases like these that my mind travels back to the classic film strips that I remember teachers showing in classes when I was younger. I was always really excited when the film strips would come out. These presentations combined audio and visual media and generally drew you into the presentation in the same way that a good PowerPoint presentation should.
The key to the good use of PowerPoint really does not lie in the technical skills of arranging slides and using transitions. So much of that is bells and whistles that draws away from the presentation. The true mastery of PowerPoint lies in creating enough visual information to help engage your listeners in your oral presentation.
One of the best ways to do that is to create an infographic. Believe it or not, these visual presentations of data are often produced in PowerPoint. With an infographic behind you on the screen, suddenly, you are able to tell your story in much greater depth. Your audience can explore the visualization of the infographic as you share with them your interpretation of what they see. There are even handy templates for building these infographics, such as this one.
So, what are you waiting for? Switch out your standard PowerPoint presentations for PowerPoint infographics.