Hi, I’m Julie Bowe and this is my first time posting at KidLitCentral. For today’s tips I thought I’d share ten tricks and treats I’ve learned when creating and presenting PowerPoint programs:
1. Keep the slides simple. Use a plain dark background with light text or a light/pastel background with dark text. I use a plain slide background and then insert photos and text onto the background.
2. Add a border or shadow around your pictures in order to make them stand out. If I have more than one photo on a slide I sometimes angle or overlap them for a “scrapbook” look. I usually use only 1-3 photos per slide.
3. Use a font size that is 40 points or higher. And use only one font style throughout your program. Make sure it’s a style that is easy to read (I use Comic Sans.) Use as little text as possible on each slide. Lots of text will overwhelm your audience!
4. When talking about a particular slide, talk to the audience not to the screen. This may seem obvious, but I find it's easy to get in the habit of looking at the screen while talking, rather than staying focused on the audience. I practice my program a lot before presenting. I also have an outline of my program typed up with tiny images of each PP slide next to the various sections of my outline so I know which slide is coming next by looking at my outline. I put the outline on a clipboard and hold the clipboard while I’m presenting, or set it down and pick it up again as needed.
5. Keep images up on the screen only while you’re talking about them. Insert a blank slide into your program when you will be talking about something that doesn’t relate to a particular image on the screen. This will let your audience know that their attention needs to be focused on you again, rather than on the screen.
6. The PowerPoint program you create may not be compatible with the host's computer (even if they promise you that it will!) This has happened to me more than once, so, just to be safe, I always bring along my program on a laptop in addition to having it saved on a CD and on a flash drive stick.
7. After hooking up your laptop to the host’s projector, you will probably need to tell the laptop where to send the monitor signal. You’ll know you need to do this if both the laptop and the projector are running, but the projector is not projecting your start-up screen. On my laptop, I send the signal to the projector by holding down the Fn (Function) key and then pressing the F8 key. You may need to press a different key (F1 through F12) on your laptop. The proper key to press will likely be labeled with LCD/CRT or an icon of a laptop and monitor. You may need to repeat this step a couple of times in order to send the signal. Learning this little trick has lowered my stress level considerably!
8. Have a “Plan B” in place. Even if you’ve done everything you can to prepare for your PP program, unforeseen problems can still occur. Your laptop may crash or the projector may croak. In order to avoid a total disaster (and a disappointed audience) I have all my PP slides printed on transparencies so I can show them using an overhead projector, if needed. Also, I bring along my own extension cord and VGA male to male cable, just in case cords/cables aren’t available (or can’t be found) when I arrive. If you are working with a Mac computer, you may need to bring along a different type of cable.
9. Do a test run. After I put together my PP slides, I stopped by my church and hooked up my laptop to their projector so I could see how the slides would appear on the big screen. Keep in mind that the colors you see on your computer screen will likely look somewhat different when they are projected on the big screen. Find a place in your community where you can do a test run of your slide show.
10. Don’t let the PP slides be your program. Don't rely too heavily on PP slides for your program or your audience will begin to drift. Change the focus by showing props, inviting volunteers to come up front to help you with a portion of your presentation, present a skit, song or game that ties into your theme, do a short reading, and be sure to allow plenty of time for Q & A!
So there are my ten tricks for putting together a PP program that’s a real treat! And speaking of tricks and treats, be sure to stop by KidLitCentral on October 31 for lots of spooktacular fun! More details coming soon!