Some common errors in presentations How not to impress your audience!
As we have described in Chapter 9 on Presentations, the way information is presented is very important. The following slides will illustrate examples of poor practice in presentations and give brief tips for good practice. You can read through the presentation slide by slide, or use the links in the Index to jump to specific topics.
Index • Contrast • Choosing a font • Font size • Content and text layout • Display features • Data presentation • Delivery
Contrast • Make sure that the text stands out clearly from the background • Check your presentation using a projector as the colours on your computer screen may not appear the same when they are projected
Choose the text font and background colours to give strong contrast Choose the text font and background colours to give strong contrast
Avoid putting text over busy backgrounds where the contrast changes Avoid putting text over busy backgrounds where the contrast changes Back to Index
Choosing a font • It is important to use simple fonts that are easy to read quickly • It is important to use simple fonts that are easy to read quickly Avoid using fonts that are too ornate, such as in the first example, because these can be difficult to read.
Some examples of clear fonts This font is Arial – used in this presentation This font is Trebuchet This font is CG Times This font is Lucida sans serif This font is Palatino Back to Index
Font size • Make sure the font size is large enough to be legible from the back of the room – this is 16 point and is too small for a large room • Make sure the font size is large enough to be legible from the back of the room – this is 32 point and is very clear • This font is 20 point and is probably the smallest you should use
Font size – a tip • When using text boxes in PowerPoint take care of the font size: if the text overfills the box, PowerPoint may auto-adjust the font size. This was set at 32 point but has been auto-adjusted to fit. • When using text boxes in PowerPoint take care of the font size: if the text overfills the box, PowerPoint may auto-adjust the font size. This is what 32 point should look like: the box has been expandedto maintain the font size. Back to Index
Text content • Avoid putting too much information on a slide • Too much text makes it difficult to read • Too much text on the slide, as in this example, will detract from what you are saying in your presentation because the audience will be reading the slide and not listening to what you are saying
Text content • Use text sparingly • Use text to emphasise a few key points – 4 or 5 at most on a slide • Keep each bullet point short – if possible not more than about 15 words • When presenting – try to avoid reading out the text
Text layout • Avoid having a cluttered appearance • Text lines should be spaced out • Use extra spacing to separate different topics • Don’t cram the content on the slide • Avoid having a cluttered appearance • Text lines should be spaced out • Use extra spacing to separate different topics • Don’t cram the content on the slide Back to Index
Display features • Avoid using lots of display features as they can be distracting and irritating for the audience • This includes things like displaying one word at a time • Or using fly-ins from different places • Just keep it simple! Back to Index
Data presentation – tables Table 1. Effect of nutrient supplements • What’s wrong with this Table? • Title is unclear • Too much information crammed in • Font too small • Some units missing
Data presentation – tables Table 1. Effect of nutrient supplements on growth of growtaller spp. Means ± s.d., n = 54 in each group. * Significantly different at p < 0.05, Student’s t test
Data presentation – tables key points • Only show key information – avoid too many rows/columns • Check the font is large enough • Make sure the title and format are clear • Test the projection – make sure you can read it easily from the back of the lecture theatre.
Data presentation – graphs • Make sure that you have presented the data correctly – see Chapter 6 page 100 • Use font/symbol colours that give a strong contrast • Use fonts/symbols that are large enough to be seen clearly • View the projection of the graph from the back of the lecture theatre: can you see everything clearly?
Delivering the presentation – key points • Rehearse the presentation • Check for time • Make sure the slides appear as you want them when projected • Make sure you know what you want to say • Engage the audience – don’t read from the slides or from a script • Don’t rush – speak clearly Back to Index