Administrative Professionals Conference – Session: Powerful Presentations

Powerful Presentations: Strategies for Creating Engaging Content – Alissa Harrington, Instructional Designer, School of Graduate & Professional Studies, Stevenson –

*** Note – These are my personal notes blogged LIVE so please excuse the typos – also there may be personal comments.

  • Death by PowerPoint – Attention difficulties
  • Five strategies to add impact and inter-activities
  • Poll Everywhere – interactive and collect data from the audience – “What word would you use to describe the last PowerPoint you saw?”
  • Strategy 1: Less TEXT
    • Less TEXT – tired of reading slides and tired of watching speakers READ slides
    • Stop using Bullets
    • Start with a blank slide, instead of using title here / bullets here – Start blank and get creative
    • Presentation Zen (book)

PowerPoint is supposed to be the “backdrop” to your presentation NOT THE PRESENTATION ! We are the ones giving the presentation – Not PowerPoint – Think of your slides as your stage Fonts: Can be broken down to two types: Serif / San Serif – San Serif fonts should be used for ALL electronic communications – easy to read – use for the body of the text – your eyes read differently on a screen vs. on a paper Mix Font Styles – Mix and Match – Vary your fonts but keep it consistent – “don’t go crazy” – Make sure your font is setting the correct “tone” Finding Fonts:

  • Searching the sites – make sure when you see the font result that it is FREE
  • If you put one of these fonts on your powerpoint presentation then the laptop needs to have font on it – But you CAN Embed the font in the file through OPTIONS when you save your presentation – you can Embed ALL of the font characters that way you can edit, just in case

If you MUST use bullets…

  • Dim the text
  • Text dims to lighter color on clic which puts attention on the current point and maintains audience attention
  • To do this: highlight your bullets and on the animation pane (you may need to turn it on) and choose your animation type from the drop down options menu: effect options – select drop down arrow and pick the color you want to dim too (i.e. gray) – go to SHOW and test it
  • Avoid using plain Text bullets – SMART ART
    • make a diagram out of text – highlight the bulleted list: SMART ART tab – convert to SMART ART and that makes a “visual list” vs. just plain bullets
    • Smart Art for different designs also.

Strategy 2: Color Selection

Strategy 3: Make It Visual

  • Choose your image with thought and care – make sure that it sets the tone
  • Be careful when copying and pasting from Google – Use Google Advanced Search image function – check the USAGE RIGHTS: “Look for images that are FREE to use or Share” – Be Careful and always site the source if using someone’s image – do attribution and site where the image is from
  • Found an image that you like but it has a white background – Click on image: Picture Tools Tab: “remove background” – works with some images easily but not if it is a complicated background – you can use the pen to draw across the areas you want to remove
  • Icons and Shapes in place of bullets – Insert symbols (web dings / wing dings)
  • Sites:

Strategy 4: Rule of Thirds

  • Stop centering everything – three rows / three columns – off-set your subject – true in photography and true on your slides
  • Don’t center everything
  • “Power Points” – where lines intersect at certain points vs. just to one side or in the center

Screen Capture: to grab an image and paste it in presentation – Snipping tool will let you select an image on your screen

Strategy 5: Get Interactive

  • – QR codes – link your audience to resources instantly
  • Don’t forget about handouts – include QR code and also the website (just in case) – a great way to share a list of websites – bookmark all of your favorite bookmarks

  • When speaking: create a symbaloo board with all of the sites found as tools for the topic

Keyboard Show Mode Tricks (PowerPoint) In Show Mode Only

  • “B” blacks out the screen
  • “W” white out the screen
  • “esc” End Show
  • CTRL+P Activate Pen – make sure to change it BACK to an arrow to move forward
  • CTRL+E Activate eraser
  • CTRL+A Activate arrow
  • CTRL+S Display slide list


  • slide:ology by Nancy Duarte
  • The Naked Presenter by Garr Reynolds
  • Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson

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