Lars Thore Jensen

Lars Thore Jensen

Lars Thore Jensen

Karma: 8 (?)

Avoid death by PowerPoint - seven simple rules
PowerPoint has conquered the classrooms, the auditoriums and the boardrooms. This conquest seems to have spread like a virus displacing all other tools of communication. Sadly, in many cases, the use of PowerPoint has made teaching, lecturing and presentations rather boring, uninteresting and therefore less informative.
This depreciation of teaching and communication happens because of a misguided approach to the use of PowerPoint by many teachers and presenters who seem to think that a PowerPoint presentation is a collection of notes. Furthermore, it seems that the same teachers and presenters think they have the right, and almost an obligation, to hurl these notes at their innocent students, pupils and other listeners. The way in which PowerPoint is often used therefore kills creativity and blocs learning.
Sadly, this description of the use of PowerPoint is not an isolated case. The poor use of PowerPoint can be seen throughout the educational sector from preschools to universities.  These bad habits are increasingly found in any country wherever electronic projectors are installed in lecture theaters, boardrooms and other meeting places.
There is probably one overwhelming reason for the poor use of PowerPoint and that is simply that many presenters and teachers never bother to improve their own teaching skills by participation in teacher training courses.
The Power Point Tool should be used to further learning and improve understanding on the part of the listeners, to do otherwise would be very unprofessional. PowerPoint works brilliantly when it  accompanies an oral presentation. PowerPoint is a tool that is best used to illustrate key elements and underline visual aspects of the presentation. PowerPoint is also an easy tool to use when you need to boost emotional aspects of your presentation.
By following seven simple rules the use of PowerPoint can contribute significantly to many kinds of presentation and to teaching:
  1. Use as little text as possible – best of all use only single words;
  2. Do use pictures and charts to illustrate text;
  3. Do use animation in your PP-presentations but do not overdo this option;
  4. Prepare your presentation by coordinating your oral presentation and your slides;
  5. If it is a longer presentation – do not rely solely on PowerPoint: compliment this with other presentation techniques;
  6. If you need to handout notes then make notes and hand them out. Do not put all your lecture notes in your PP-presentation;
  7. Do not stand with your back to your audience and read your PowerPoint.
The above rules are not rocket science. Some of the rules are in fact very basic. However, everyday experience  shows that it can be hard to live up to these rules.
At the heart of every presentation lies the opportunity to change the way your audience thinks. This opportunity does not depend on you being a bright doctor, lawyer, mathematician, historian or manager. The power to give a great presentation depends on your ability to use different instructive tools in the right way. As every craftsman knows the more you practice the better you get. So do practice your presentation skills. Do try out new ways of making presentations in PowerPoint.
PowerPoint is only a tool. It is only useful when it is used in the right way.

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