Winning at Trial with a Dynamic PowerPoint Presentation
Applies to: PowerPoint 2007, PowerPoint 2003
Author: Robert Lane and Dr. Stephen Kosslyn
Date Created: July 1st 2009
Last Updated: June 14th 2012
The Need for Flexibility
The change of perspective came while experimenting with PowerPoint’s built-in interactivity tools. By combining shapes, pictures, and hyperlinks, Bruce created what are known as navigation styles—simple hyperlinking strategies that allow random movement within, and between, slide shows. Before long, and using nothing more than standard PowerPoint software, he could approach jurors with a highly flexible, interlinked collection of about 200 slides. Any topic was displayable within seconds, in any order. Plus, content could be reviewed at a later time, or skipped altogether.
Bruce: “It felt a little strange at first. Interactive delivery is quite different from plowing through a fixed sequence of slides. You need to know your content well and get in the habit of asking yourself, ‘Do I have a slide that can help me make this point or answer that question?’ I had to give up the robotic dependency on PowerPoint to spoon-feed me the next topic every time. The next topic was whatever I wanted it to be. It was a liberating. My presentation style gradually began taking on a more conversational, spontaneous feel—which was fun.
“Here’s an example of how the process works, something you can do with your presentation materials, as well. Let’s say hypothetically I am representing a client in an automobile accident injury case. Certain kinds of pictures might be very helpful, right?
“I probably will want pictures of the vehicles involved: close-ups, full-views, various angles, inside and outside perspectives. I need pictures of the accident scene: skid marks, damage to plants or signs, security camera captures, if available, and so forth. Pictures of the environment might be helpful: shadows, the sun angle, anything that might be distracting to motorists at that intersection.
“Eventually, I end up with quite a few images. Certainly I could throw them all into a long, linear slide show like everyone else, but there’s a better strategy. I want to have instant, individual control over which of these pictures are shown, at the right time. That’s how I, and you, will simulate that CSI Effect mentioned earlier.”
A Look at Showcase Navigation
“One of the simplest, yet effective, navigation styles I might choose for this kind of content is a back and forth process Robert calls Showcase navigation. Here’s how it works. We’ll use the same three categories of pictures mentioned above and turn them into an interactive PowerPoint presentation as shown in Figure 4.
“Assume we have 8
pictures per category—24 in all. That means our PowerPoint presentation
must have a total of 25 slides. We need one slide for each picture, and
then one additional special slide at the beginning of the show called
a switchboard. That first slide
(Figure 5) contains small thumbnail representations
of the full-sized pictures appearing on the show’s remaining 24 slides.
The thumbnails, not surprisingly, link directly to their respective picture
slides, allowing the speaker to quickly find and display any full-sized
Note: In evidentiary situations where showing the switchboard’s thumbnails might be inappropriate, use PowerPoint’s screen blackout feature to temporarily hide the display while making a selection.
“Of course, once a particular picture is displayed that’s not the end of the story. The speaker must be able to immediately return to the switchboard slide for additional choices. So, the trick of how Showcase navigation works is to also link all the full-sized pictures back to slide 1. That action completes the loop. While performing, a presenter first clicks a thumbnail to display its picture content full-screen, and then clicks that picture to again access the switchboard. The process can be repeated over and over again with as many pictures as desired.
“Notice, too, that the thumbnails in Figure 1 are arranged on the slide in groups, according to their focus. If a vehicle picture is needed, for example, the speaker can completely ignore the other two categories while searching. Such grouping strategies improve the efficiency of interactive presentation methods, reducing time spent moving between topics.”
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