For example, there’s a tendency among presenters to include too many bullet points in each slide and to add charts and graphs from written reports without converting them to a more easily understood format for the PowerPoint presentation.
“A lot of presenters try to cram as much information as they can onto one slide and spend a few minutes on that slide,” he says. The problem is that complicated graphs and charts can overwhelm learners. Lerner recommends presenting information from charts and graphs in a more simplified manner across several slides and pacing the presentation by showing each slide for no longer than 30 seconds.
Not only does this approach help keep learners’ attention and make the learning experience more enjoyable, it also breaks the information down into smaller chunks, making it easier for learners to remember the material, he says. “Most people would rather watch five slides with a different image on each slide than one basic text-bulleted slide.”
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Lerner says each slide generally should contain no more than seven bullets of up to five words in each bullet. “Take the time to edit/revise text in a bullet to make it more succinct and to the point. To more solidly convey a point, span your bullet points across multiple slides. In other words, one slide with five bullet points could be expanded into five separate slides, each with its own supporting graphic.”
Lerner’s other recommendations include the following:
- Align and distribute graphics and text (using the “draw toolbar” in PowerPoint).
- Create more “white space” around text and graphics by reducing their size.
- Transform bullet points into graphic “icons.”
- Introduce items one at a time through animations and screen transitions.
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In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll look at using a PowerPoint to train and not just present—plus we’ll explore a dynamic resource filled with prewritten PowerPoint training sessions on critical HR topics.