Six Tips for a Better PowerPoint – Plumtree Baby

Six Tips for a Better PowerPoint

PowerPoint has been used for several decades to enhance presentations and courses. Educators often rely on this tool to help them create a logical flow for the course, stay on track and provide visuals that support the course topics.

PowerPoint is an easy to use and versatile tool that can greatly enhance a course. However, it can also be used improperly and detract from the course if it is not done well. We share 6 tips for creating awesome PowerPoints below.

  1. Keep it simple. This is the top recommendation in nearly every article on PowerPoint. Simple slides are far more effective because they contain just a few words which can be easily read and digested, as well as impactful visuals that tie directly into your message. Aim for fewer than 5 bullets with short sentence fragments that summarize your point. Balance text with visuals and remind yourself that it is okay to have blank space.
  2. Write your lesson plan first. Then use the plan to help you create the PowerPoint and be sure to break it up into different segments. As you create each slide, ask yourself "what is this for?" Consider the goal or purpose, then add content to your slides that helps you achieve this goal. 
  3. Remember that students care more about your words. PowerPoints are meaningless without a great educator narrating and engaging with the audience. This means that when students read your PowerPoint slide, they should NOT understand the topic completely. They will need more information which you provide in other ways (lecture, discussion, interactive activities, physical props, etc). 
  4. Use effects sparingly. Animations, slide transitions and other effects can be used infrequently to draw attention to important information or highlight a point. A good rule of thumb is to only include such effects every 10 slides, if at all, because they can be distracting and get repetitive and boring. 
  5. Use high quality visuals. Do not use pixelated cartoons or images you downloaded randomly. Invest in recent, high quality photographs or images that will impress your students and give your course a positive reputation. 
  6. Have a quality design. Create a theme for the entire presentation with pleasing colors and consistent layouts and fonts. Use only 2-3 colors through out the presentation. Keep font sizes at 22 points or greater. Make sure the font contrasts with the background color and is easy to read on the screen. 

PowerPoints can be a fun and engaging tool for your childbirth courses if done well. Follow these tips and you will avoid getting on the list of "World's Worst PowerPoint Presentations" and instead have a portable and practical tool that can be used over and over again. 

If you are looking for a quick way to get started using PowerPoint, check out our Thoughtful Childbirth PowerPoint series. Our PowerPoints are customizable to fit your courses. They are completely up to date and can save you a ton of time and energy. 

 

References:

Effective Use of PowerPoint. University of Central Florida.
Making Better PowerPoint Presentations. Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching. 

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Plumtree Baby, LLC

Julie Olson

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