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The quality and impact of a presentation depends on a lot of things, not the least of which is the design of the slides. We have all seen lots of presentations: some great ones, some awful ones, most somewhere in between. But what makes for a great presentation? A lot of it of course is the presenter. The presenter has to have good knowledge of the material, a presence that keeps the attention of the audience, and a clear and pleasant manner of speaking. And all those things can either be enhanced or undermined by the design of the slides the presenter is using. Let's compare two different approaches.
In general, slides should complement what the speakers saying. They should also echo and underscore it, not to just repeat it word for word. Slides should be memorable if you want people to take anything away from the presentation. The worst presentations I've seen are those where the slides contain so much information that no one could possibly read and understand it all in the time that it's up on the screen, like this example down at the bottom. I have all 8 bullet points with paragraphs full of text and each with an image, all in a single slide. So, for a lot of people, they are not even going to be able to read this because the text is going to be too small.
Contrast that to the approach at the top where all the text is large and bold and you can read it no matter where you are sitting in the room. Now, when it comes to animation, the same idea applies. Animation should enhance the ideas in the presentation, not overwhelm them. And as a wise person once said, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Both of these slides have animation. Let's preview the one at the bottom. I have the SWF Preview panel and I'll press Play.
Those dancing bullet points might be okay in a different context, but they feel inappropriate here. It's a little too silly, and the movement doesn't enhance the message we are trying to get across in any way. Let's preview the other example. Now in this title slide, there are still 6 animations, which is a lot. I wouldn't do this on every slide. But here there are specific goals with these animations. First, the words "8 Reasons" starts out large to get that phrase in people's minds.
They instantly have a sense of the theme of the presentation, its structure, and its length. So later on, when they are seeing the 4th reason, they have an awareness that they are halfway done. The other animations literally show the three fields of study coming together at the Roux Academy, and the timing of each animation follows the reading order. So in each case, the style of animation serves the theme of the presentation. By taking a simple, thoughtful approach to your design and using a light hand when it comes to effects and animations, you can make your presentations more enjoyable and effective.
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