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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia


How to avoid suislide








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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia


How to avoid ‘suislide’
Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................ 3
Dual Coding Theory ............................................................................................. 4
Hatred of Powerpoint .......................................................................................... 5
The right tool for the job ...................................................................................... 5
Visual thinking ...................................................................................................... 6
Design & Delivery .................................................................................................... 7
Planning & producing .............................................................................................. 7
<1> Design: planning .......................................................................................... 8
Design: producing ................................................................................................ 9
<1> Pictures are powerful .................................................................................... 9
<2> Less is more ................................................................................................ 11
<a> SNR=Signal-to-noise ratio ........................................................................ 11
<b> Colour ................................................................................................... 14
<c> Font ....................................................................................................... 15
<e> Animation .............................................................................................. 16
<3> Use high quality images .............................................................................. 17
Creative Commons .......................................................................................... 17
Use full-bleed photos ....................................................................................... 18
Live Doodles ................................................................................................... 18
Delivery: 4 tips for delivering with slides ............................................................. 19
<1> Position, position, position ......................................................................... 19
<2> Keep the focus on you ............................................................................... 20
<3> Make the structure explicit ......................................................................... 20
<4> Use presenter‟s view .................................................................................. 21
Present different .................................................................................................... 22
Connect with me ................................................................................................... 22
References ............................................................................................................. 23
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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia


Introduction

(slide + document = slideument = suislide)
These terms are from Garr Reynolds
(www.presentationzen.com).

/s1adwee/

Many excellent slideware applications are available. The
two most popular:
Microsoft Powerpoint
Apple Keynote

Others:
OpenOffice Impress (http://www.openoffice.org/product/impress.html)
Sliderocket (http://www.sliderocket.com/)
Prezi (http://prezi.com/my/)

Slideware – used effectively – is a powerful tool. If it isn‟t:

„Blame the fool, not
the tool‟

Although slideware is
used for a number of
purposes, I‟m
approaching it as a
visual aid to support a
real life human speaker.

The slide to the left is
not a visual aid.





Source: www.siliconforestforum.com/2001.SessionTwo.BillRodoni.ppt


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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Dual Coding Theory

A typical slide looks something like this. The speaker will read aloud the words on the
slide. The trouble is, human beings can‟t listen and read at the same time.

Presentation
I have so much to tell you, that I’m going to
write it all down and hope you get it
Just to be sure, I’m going to read it to you at the
same time that you read it to yourself
Little do I realise that your auditory and visual
channels will be competing with each other, so you
probably won’t get any of this at all
I might as well have sent you an email and stayed at
home.


Dual-coding theory (Paivio, 1986) states that we process verbal and visual information
through functionally independent (although interacting) subsystems.

recall/recognition is enhanced by presenting information in both visual and verbal
form. A typically text heavy slide is creating a traffic jam in our brains.


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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Hatred of Powerpoint

Critics of Powerpoint are aplenty and vehemently vocal in their hatred of it.


This criticism is, I believe, directed at a particular style of using Powerpoint. In his now
famous essay, Edward R.Tufte (2003) says Powerpoint „disrupts, dominates and
trivialises content‟ and is „intellectually
thin‟.

The style he criticises is what he calls
„The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint‟.

This is a style borne of a desire to
extend slideware beyond its intended
use – to use it as a 3 in 1 tool. I suggest
this is not the most effective use of
sideware in terms of the audience‟s level
of interest, recall and learning.


The right tool for the job

Powerpoint cannot fulfil the 3 in 1 role so many presenters try to force it to do:

Teleprompter (so the speaker can use the text as their script)
Visual aids (to complement what the speaker is saying)
Handouts (for the audience to take home and read later as an aide memoire)

Powerpoint = 3 in 1
notes
handouts
visual
aids
PPT
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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Visual thinking

If we agree to abandon „The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint‟, a more visual approach
is the obvious one.


Image used under Creative Commons from jonny goldstein

Dan Roam (2009) has an interesting take on using pictures. This is highly relevant to
Powerpoint
Rethinking PowerPoint: Dan Roam interview
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBgo9vZFias

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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Design & Delivery
Planning & producing

We can learn a lot from Hollywood.

The Hollywood Model

1. Script
2. Storyboard
3. Screen



Many presenters in business and
academia have turned this model
on its head and reach
immediately for the PC when
preparing for a presentation.

A well-crafted presentation,
starting with a script that is then
developed into a storyboard
before finally being seen on screen can be worthy of an Oscar. Al Gore took a fancy
slide presentation on the road, filmed it and earned an Academy Award for „An
Inconvenient Truth‟ (2006).
















Used under Creative Commons License Juampe López

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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

<1> Design: planning

Atkinson (2005) suggests an easy way of sending notes from MSWord to
MSPowerpoint.

He goes further and proposes a specific template to plan the content. Whether you
use the template or not, the method of sending a document to MSPowerpoint can
save time. The result is a solid basis on which to build visual slides. Your headings in
your MSWord document will become the titles of your sides.

Send Ms Word to MSPPT


To do this in Powerpoint 2007:

1. Save your MSWord file
2. Open MS Powerpoint
3. Create a blank presentation
4. Open -> files of type: select all
5. Select your MSWord file
6. Click „open‟

You may also want to convert your MSPowerpoint files back to MSWord. See:

http://presentationsoft.about.com/od/powerpointinbusiness/ss/ppt_to_word.htm




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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Design: producing
<1> Pictures are powerful

Naijar (1998) states that when we hear a piece of information, we will remember
only 10% of it three days later. If a picture is added, we‟ll remember 65%.

So, a slide such as this:


can be represented more visually as:



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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

A table such as this is too much information to be squeezed onto a slide.
Price increase of consumer items 199X-200X

A graph may work better with relevant bits highlighted:



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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

<2> Less is more

Four aspects of less is more:

<a> SNR
<b> colour
<c> font
<d> animation

<a> SNR=Signal-to-noise ratio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal-to-noise_ratio

Even Bill Gates himself is notorious for presenting with particularly noisy slides. A
noisy slide has too much going on; too many elements.



The solution is to simplify, simplify, simplify.









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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Here‟s one message; three ways



This is very noisy. Using a
template with a sidebar, this
slide is difficult to understand for
a number of reasons:

patterned background
too many elements
too many colours
too much text
small text
inconsistency in labeling

47%
28%
18%
1%
5%
1%
Nuclear electric power
Non-nuclear electric
power
Alternative energy
Agriculture & Forestry
Industry
Other
Carbon reductions 2000-2010
Source: DOE/ELA


This is the same information
presented in the same way, yet
with a simplified design.

the background is removed
the colours are muted
the legend is clearer
the title is shortened

This may work well if, and only
if, it‟s essential to convey this
amount of data.


47%


If the point of the original slide
is to highlight the dominance of
nuclear electric power, this very
visual slide may work better.

An image such as this elicits a
more emotional response.

Emotion is memorable because
it is experienced.

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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

This slide is noisy for different reasons:



This is talking about four types of calibration. Why not chunk it down into 4 or 5
slides (including a title slide)? Slides are free!

Calibration
Four types of guage for
checking/calibrating
CMM

<1> Block guage

<2> Step guage


…and so on with another two slides….


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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia


Nancy Duarte
(2008) says,
„presentations
are a glance
media‟ just like
billboards.

She maintains
that you
should be able
to look at a
slide and
understand its
message in 3
seconds.





<b> Colour

Obviously, too much colour is distracting. Keep it simple. Or, you get adventurous
and create your own theme at http://kuler.adobe.com/ or www.colourlovers.com/




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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

<c> Font

Size

If a presentation becomes an eye-test, the strain becomes
too much and the audience will switch off.

Lots of “rules” have been prescribed as to the minimum
font size.

I use a simple test. View your slides in slide sorter view,
which is at 66% of their original size. If you can read the
text comfortably, it should be OK.

Of course, consider the size of the room, the size of the
screen and even the age of your audience.






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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

<d> Font

Type

No consensus has been reached on the best font to use.

A good summary of the debate is at:
http://www.alexpoole.info/academic/literaturereview.html#part2

In general practice, most online media use sans-serif font. This is because the lesser
resolution can make very small serif characters harder to read than the equivalent
sans-serif characters with more complex shapes.

The most common sans-serif font is Arial.

If you accept Duarte‟s assertion that „presentations are a glance media‟, it also follows
that sans serif fonts are the way to go. Have a look at a few dozen billboards if you‟re
still unconvinced.

DON’T UNDERLINE and DON”T WRITE ALL IN CAPS.

Underlined text is most commonly a hyperlink these days. Underlining text may lead
people to think it is a link even if it‟s not and wonder what they missed.

Writing in all capitals is considered shouting when in an email, so it follows that it
should be avoided in other media too.


<e> Animation

Use animation with restraint. Although Powerpoint comes with many fancy features
that can make your text fly and swirl, it can also distract. A little animation can
certainly enhance.

See Duarte‟s (2008) Chapter 9 „Creating Movement‟.











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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia


<3> Use high quality images


Just five years ago, it was commonplace to use
clipart.

In 2010, not only are many of these clipart
images passé, we have many more options.

Using high quality photographs is more
impressive. Images are easy to find online and
many are free to use under Creative Commons
licenses.



Creative Commons

Six main licenses exist. They are comprised of:

See:

http://hk.creativecommons.org/
http://creativecommons.org/

For high quality photos, search at http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/?

Credit each photo along the lines of „Image used under Creative Commons from
[username]‟

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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Use full-bleed photos

Lamma Winds
(南丫風采發電站) is a wind turbine in
Tai Ling, Lamma Island, Hong Kong, where
the average wind velocity is 5.5 m/s.

5.5 m/s

The slide on the right has more impact than the one on the right. Ensure your image is
at least 500pixels wide for high enough resolution.

If you purchase images from a stock
library, the smallest size should be OK.

Do not attempt to use the preview
thumbnail images. Not only is the
resolution too low, it communicates that
you (and your organisation) are cheap.



Live Doodles

An interesting blend of media is the trend of using live doodles in a presentation.
When in slideshow mode (Powerpoint 2007), icons appear when you hover around
the bottom left corner.

If you have a remote mouse, you may be able to do simple highlighting and
annotations. But doodling would be a challenge.

A tablet makes it so much easier:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeUp38UcbD4
http://www.ehow.com/how_4450554_use-tablet-pc-powerpoint-presentations.html


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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Delivery: 4 tips for delivering with slides

<1> Position, position, position

Do all you can to set up the room to do you (and your slides) justice. Most rooms are
set up all wrong.

They usually have:

a podium or table that the speaker is expected to stand behind
a handheld microphone, sometimes bolted to the podium/table
a short cable to connect your PC to the projector/power (or no cable at all; just a
desktop PC)
a screen at the back of the stage, set dead centre

Read more at http://hongkongtoastmasters.blogspot.com/2010/04/who-moved-
furniture.html






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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

<2> Keep the focus on you

You are the presentation, not your slides. Turn on the lights and stand in the
spotlight.

As you deliver your slides, there will be times when you have finished talking about
one slide and you have something to say without visual support. If what you‟re
saying is not directly related to the image being projected, turn it off.

Four ways to turn off the projector (temporarily; without turning it off at source):

1. Use the black out button on your remote clicker
2. Use the „B‟ button on the keyboard to make the screen black
3. Use the „W‟ button on the keyboard to make the screen white
4. Put a piece of paper in front of the light source (if on a table).

<3> Make the structure explicit

Use title slides as advance organizers. This helps
your audience know where you‟re at, particularly
in longer presentations.

You‟ll see this in use on most good, larger websites
as in gov.hk.



<5> use presenter’s view
deliver
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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

<4> Use presenter’s view


A little known feature in MSPowerpoint
allows you to „cheat‟ and see your notes
on screen. Of course, the audience sees
only the slide.

Microsoft‟s instructions are pretty simple:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-
us/powerpoint/HA010565471033.aspx

Only for laptops.



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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

Present different

Unfortunately, the bar is set pretty low when it comes to presentations, especially
those that use slides.

If you can apply these techniques, you will be better than most of the rest.


More of Dilbert on Powerpoint at:

http://www.powerpointninja.com/for-fun/dilbert-on-powerpoint-presentations/

Connect with me

If your colleagues, staff or clients are interested in developing slide design skills and/or
public speaking skills, please get in touch:

Ruth Benny
Trainer/Speaker
Confident Speaking Asia
Tel: 9339 4749

Find me online at:

www.confidentspeaking.asia


http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewProfile=&key=697952&trk=tab_pro

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‘How to avoid suislide’
© Ruth Benny: www.confidentspeaking.asia

References

Abela, Andrew V. Advanced presentations by design: creating communication that
drives action 2008

Atkinson, Cliff. Beyond bullet points: using Microsoft PowerPoint to create
presentations that inform, motivate and inspire 2005

Duarte, Nancy. Slide:ology : the art and science of creating great presentations 2008

Gore, Albert, Guggenheim, Davis, David, Laurie, et al. An inconvenient truth 2006

Medina, John J., Soundview Executive Book Summaries and Books24x7, Inc. Brain
rules 2010

Najjar, L. J. Principles of educational multimedia user interface design 1998

Paivio, Allan. Mental representations: a dual coding approach 1986

Reynolds, Garr. Presentation zen design: simple design principles and techniques to
enhance your presentations 2010

Roam, Dan. Unfolding the napkin 2009

Roam, Dan. The back of the napkin: solving problems and selling ideas with pictures
2009

Tufte, Edward R. The cognitive style of PowerPoint 2003

Tufte, Edward R. The visual display of quantitative information 2001


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