Use the following guidelines to prepare your PowerPoint presentation.
- A picture is worth a thousand words.
- Make sure that lettering is large enough to read at a distance.
- Make sure pictures, graphs, and tables are large enough to view in detail.
- Keep each slide as simple as possible to get your point across.
- Use high contrast text and illustrations.
- Don’t get carried away with designs and animation – they can be very distracting.
- Keep the backgrounds plain or very simple so that the audience will be able to focus on your message. Dark text against a light background is the easiest to read.
- In planning your presentation, be sure to "tell the audience what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them."
- Use a Sample PowerPoint Presentation to help you organize your presentation.
Graphs and Tables
- Go from broad to narrow as you introduce the research.
- Do not use jargon, and when you do need to use specialized terminology, define the words for the audience.
- Keep text to a minimum.
- Spell check all text.
- Provide illustrations and examples to help the audience understand the information.
Practice makes perfect
- Label items and the overall content of a graph or table.
- Indicate sample size and standard error bars.
- Make sure all text is large enough and contrasts enough to read well.
- Don’t use 3-D graphs unless they are necessary to provide information.
- Be careful about color choices, as many people are colorblind. It is preferable to use contrasting shades or textures in graphing data.
- Time the length of your talk and make sure you leave enough time for questions at the end.
- Practice your talk for your mentor or another experienced person, leaving enough time to make changes or refine the presentation.
- Practice using eye contact with your audience and projecting your voice towards the back of the audience.
- Avoid looking at your slides and notes too much by practicing.
- Practice your presentation on a different computer to make sure it will display the correct images and fonts. If you prepared your presentation on a Mac computer, practice it on a PC.