How To Do Everything with Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007
By: Ellen Finkelstein
Last Updated: February 27th 2009
This book extract from How To Do Everything with Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 is an Indezine exclusive with permission from McGraw-Hill/Osborne.
The book itself is the ideal resource for anyone who wants to create rich presentations with PowerPoint. You'll find out how to use all the features of the software and get coverage of key topics, such as creating a well-written outline, the fine points of graphic design, and tips for delivering the presentation in front of an audience.
I wish to thank Ellen Finkelstein and Bettina Faltermeier for facilitating the permission to extract.
From Chapter 5: Add Art and Graphic Objects
If the standard grid that PowerPoint provides doesn't suit your needs, you can create your own, with varied spacing and a margin, for instance. One way to create a grid is to draw it on the slide master. (I discuss the slide master in detail in Chapter 7.) Follow these steps:
- From the View tab, choose Slide Master to display the slide master.
- Display and set up guides in the arrangement that you want, as explained earlier, in the section "Use Guides."
- Draw a line along the first guide. (Grids are traditionally light blue, but you can make yours any color that works for you.) By default, the line snaps to the guide.
- Choose CTRL-D to duplicate the line and drag it to the second guide.
- Continue to duplicate the last line you’ve created, as often as necessary.
- When you’ve done this in both directions on the slide master, insert a rectangle with no fill to create a margin all around the slide.
- Select the lines and the rectangle and group them.
Return to your presentation, and you will see the grid on all your slides. You can create a template containing only a slide master with this grid and use it for all your presentations. Or, once you’ve created this grid, you can copy it from one presentation to another.
When you have finished the presentation, go to the slide master and delete the grid."
From Chapter 11: Interact with Others
Most presentations are linear; they start at the beginning, end at the end, and give viewers no choice about what they see. When you deliver a presentation, you control what your audience sees. However, from experience viewing web sites, people are accustomed to choosing what they see from an array of hierarchically arranged information. You can create a presentation that functions like a web site. This style is ideal for presentations to small groups of clients—you can let them choose which information they want to see. Based on questions, you can access additional content that you have included. You can also use this type of organization for a presentation shown at a kiosk, or whenever the viewer is controlling the navigation. It’s great for educational purposes; students love clicking the buttons and going to more in-depth resources, either within the presentation or on the Internet.
If you wish, start with a title page; in web jargon, this is called a splash page. Then create a home page with your logo, a brief explanation of what you are offering your audience, and a menu. Turn each menu item into a hyperlink to other slides.
To create the hierarchical structure, create a menu on each of the second-tier slides and link to yet more slides. These slides contain the information you want to present. Finally, create links on each of the slides to return to the tier above and to the home page, just like on a web site.
On the Insert tab, click Shapes in the Illustrations group to display the Shapes gallery and choose from the Action Buttons section to insert premade web-style buttons on your slides, such as the house icon, to go to your home page. The blank action button is ideal when you want to add your own labels.
When you give your presentation, present your home page and use the menu to explain the information available. If your prospective clients indicate an interest, go that way. If not, you can use the links to direct the presentation yourself.
Why not just present your company’s web site? There are many reasons not to:
” The web site probably doesn’t contain all the specialized information you want to present and probably contains lots of information your audience doesn’t need.
” Getting a fast, reliable Internet connection is tricky. You don’t want prospects to have to wait for pages to download (or worse, not download at all).
” Web sites may limit graphics to improve downloading speed and provide consistency over various platforms and browsers. In PowerPoint, you can create the compelling look you want.
” You have easier animation options in PowerPoint. On a web site, you would have to use third-party software to animate your content.
Hierarchical presentations take some getting used to for both the presenter and the audience, but you’ll soon find that they offer incredible flexibility and power."
From Chapter 14: Prepare to Deliver Your Presentation
Before you present, you need to rehearse your presentation until you are thoroughly familiar with it. You should know your presentation so well that you almost have it memorized, but not well enough that you can repeat it by rote.
Practice delivering your presentation in three stages. The first stage is to talk through the presentation in front of your computer. You can look directly at your slides, which is okay for a first run. Repeat this step a couple of times. Next, attach your mike to your computer and use PowerPoint’s narration feature to record what you have practiced saying, going through the entire presentation. (See Chapter 10 for details.) Now, sit back and run through the presentation again, just listening to the presentation. How was the tone? Did you speak too fast or slow? Were you clear? You are sure to find room for improvement. Make adjustments and go through the cycle of practicing, recording, and listening until you are happy with the results.
The second stage is to run through the presentation using the equipment (laptop, projector, and so on) you will use when you actually deliver the slide show. New elements to focus on at this stage are becoming comfortable with the equipment, talking without looking directly at the slides for more than a second, and standing up, even walking around a bit, while you talk. You should practice your opening remarks, when you will turn the lights up and down (if at all), how you will start and end the presentation (for example, opening and closing remarks; ending with a final slide or black screen), answering questions, and so on. If possible, rehearse in front of a real person to get feedback. If you can videotape yourself, do so. Just like narration lets you listen to how you sound, video lets you see how you look as you present.
The final stage is to run through your presentation in the actual physical environment you plan to use, if possible. (If you are presenting in-house, you can combine stages two and three.) If you will use a projector and screen, set them up and use them. Where will you stand? Check out the view from the last seat. Can you read the smallest text? Learn everything you can about the room—where the lights and thermostat are, where to get more chairs, where the outlets are, and so on.
Once you have completed these steps, you will be well rehearsed and ready for anything! The confidence you have gained from being prepared will shine through."
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