PowerPoint Presentation What Would You Do?

Alternative Ways of Doing Things
I’ve seen a lot of PowerPoint presentations. I like attending them for their content but also to see what the presenter created to backup his story during the presentation. What strikes me most is that so many people use akward techniques during their presentations. In this post i will try to explain what i mean and  how i think you can do this otherwise. As always the technique i present is not the technique but just an alternative way of accomplishing the same.

So read on, try if you recognize the issues stated and let me know how you would act or what your technique is.

1. Starting your presentation clean
When i create a PowerPoint presentation i test it to the limits. When i’m done i save the presentation as a .pps (2003 and earlier) or .ppsx (2007 and later). I place a shortcut on my desktop and make sure my desktop isn’t cluttered with icons that might distract my audience. To often i see presentations started right from the slide sorter where the presenter is making some last adjustments. We can see how many slides are awaiting us and that might just tick us of.

2. Ending your show
In addition to the first pointer you know that when your presentation has ended and you did start it from the slide sorter it will end up there in the end. However when you started it as a .pps it will just end and show your desktop again. Don’t forget about the famous last black slide which states ‘show has ended’.

3. Use slidenumbers
Sometimes you attend presentations where you are allowed to ask questions during the presentation. How many times have you seen a presenter paging down and paging up through his or hers presentation to look for the slide which your question relates to. If you have presented your audience with a hand out you can tell them to make notes and if they have a question they can ask it referring to the correct slidenumber. So how do you click to that slide without paging up and paging down? I always typ the slidenumber followed by pressing ENTER. This will instantly bring me to that slide.
So how do you go back to the slide you came from?
After answering the question you might want to go back to the slide where you originally came from and that doesn’t have to be the previous slide. Well what i do is i rightclick on the slide. This will present me with a pop op menu. From that menu i choose “last viewed” and that will bring me to the slide i originally came from.

4. Use F5 and F5
In case you do have to switch between the design mode and show mode the F5 key is the most important key there is. Sure you can start you show by clicking the ribbon and look for “Slide Show from beginning” but i love the F5 key. This starts the show right away. But here again.. if you are working on slide 7 and you don’t want to start from scratch everytime with slide one press Shift+F5 while in design mode. This will start the slide show from the current slide. Don’t make me watch you presentation over and over again from the beginning.

5. Presenting from a laptop – beamer
How many times have we not been fighting the beamer to just show us the picture from our laptop? Since Vista our lives became a lot easier. Pressing the Windows key +P shows you a dialog where you can choose your settings. You don’t have to use those Fn keys from your laptop trust me. The only issues i have seen here is that presenters would like to use the presenter view and they set it correctly. But when they start the show the presentation starts on their laptop and the presenter view is on the big screen. Go to the design of your presentation click the ribbontab slideshow and choose the options “show on“. Here you can switch the output of your presentation. And while your at it make sure the resolution chosen is supported by the beamer. Remember things have to be big on the big screen.

Make sure the presentation shows up on the big screen and not on your laptop

6. We interrupt this show for…
What do you do when someone asks you a question during your show and you want to answer it? I like to know the whole audience is listening to that question as well instead of looking at your slide and dreaming of. In that case i use the famous Shift+B or the Shift+W key combinations. This makes the screen go black or white depending on the letter you pressed. You now have full attention of your crowd because there is nothing to see on the big screen. Want to go back to your presentation just press the same key combination again and you can proceed with your presentation. I know and you know that you don’t do this ten times in a presentation because then it will lose functionality. So use it accordingly.

7. Making notes during your presentation
This might be a hard one. But what if you have a really commited audience and you want to make sure you make notes about what they are asking or telling you. You could make notes with the mouse on the slide you are showing by using the inking option. But tell me how good are you in writing with a mouse? Well i can tell you that i don’t do very well. So how do i make notes if applicable during my presentation? I use an additional slide (usually the last one). On that slide i draw a textbox. Wait, wait not a regular textbox but one you grab from the developer tab. See picture below:

You see the textbox i placed on the slide. Depending on the amount of notes you want to make you can make this as large as you want. Now rightclick the textbox and choose “properties”. This will bring up the properties dialog for that textbox. Now look for the option “MultiLine” which defaults to False and set this to True. That way your text will wordwrap in the textbox.

How cool is that!

So for the next time remember this
Your desktop should look relatively clean with a .pps or .ppsx icon on it to start your presentation. Use the windows key+p for setting up your laptop in conjunction with the beamer. Don’t use page up and page down anymore during your presentation it looks silly. Use slidenumbers. And finally make sure people know who you are and how they can contact you or your company. Write down your twitter, facebook, linkedin account if you don’t mind people contacting you through these channels. And of course the website of your company should be on there somewhere

Happy presenting 🙂

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