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On the Road: My Experience Teaching PowerPoint

On the Road: My Experience Teaching PowerPoint


This is a guest post from Kirk Mossing, PowerPoint™ Consultant and Trainer.


What do Audiences REALLY Think About PowerPoint?


Travelling across the nation and working with clients like Google and Stanford University, I routinely ask my students one key question: “As an audience member, what do you hate most about PowerPoint?” And 100% of the time I hear: “There are too many words on a slide.” Followed up with: “I can’t read it.”


Therefore, when you’re a presenter, you first need to determine the purpose of your PowerPoint and build your slides around that. Know your audience. For a live audience, the purpose is to support the speaker and the presentation, and to do that you only need to develop main points. However, if you are sending it to people as a handout that they can peruse on their own, then you can load up on the details.


For both of these options I recommend that you:

A.     Create two separate presentations OR

B.     Put the bulk of your data in speaker notes AND

C.    Use hyperlinks to link to other documents or the web.


In either case, one best practice to use is this: Write all the content in the speaker notes first and then take out the key words or phrases and move them to the slide. (Select text and Control drag to copy the text and drop it into a slide.)


What Makes a Slide Visually Appealing?

Memorize and live your PowerPoint life by these four points:


1.     Contrast (imagine someone wearing black pearls against a black dress): Contrast includes using color, font size, bold, italic, etc. effectively.

2.     Consistency (would you wear old tennis shoes with a suit or evening gown?): Consistency is why there is a template, why you keep the same look and feel throughout, why you stay away from clip art and use photographs and why you strive for optimal structure and organization.

3.     Alignment (imagine a crooked picture on the wall…how off does it have to be to be annoying?): This is all about how you Draw/Align or Distribute text and images. You can use the ruler, guides, etc. to help you. To copy something and keep the alignment, use Control SHIFT drag. If you just want to move it, hold down the shift key while dragging. If you want to resize a picture proportionately, hold down the shift key and resize.

4.     Proximity (grouping like things together…imagine a restaurant menu with one line spacing and font size): The proximity of tables, boxes, white space, etc. help separate content and make it easier to absorb and retain information.


2007 vs. 2003 Tips

Many people are not using Office 2007 yet. In order for those in versions 97 to 03 to work with a document created in 07, you should save your presentation in compatibility mode. To do so, click Save As/Save as type: PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation. Note: you will lose some 07 functionality.


Another option is to download a converter to see and work with .pptx (07) files without having 07. You can do so here.


When working in different versions of PowerPoint, you will find that you are unable to copy slides from one presentation to another if you have one open in 03 and the other in 07. The trick to this is to open both in 07 or both in 03 and then move the slides.


Finally, remember that 07 is based upon ribbons instead of drop down menus, which are the equivalent of a toolbar in an earlier version. However, many options can be found by right clicking instead of hunting around on the ribbons.


Final Trick for the Road

Control Shift C and V = Copies and pastes formatting then use F4 to repeat


My best suggestion for learning new tricks is to practice one at a time, over and over, until you can do it without thinking about it.

By following these suggestions and mastering the tricks, you, too, can be a PowerPoint master and ‘wow’ your audiences every time.


Feel free to contact me! You can also be on my Tips and Tricks email list if you like.

Kirk Mossing

Power PowerPoint

[email protected]


October 7th, 2009 | Permalink | Trackback | Bookmark and Share

1 Response to On the Road: My Experience Teaching PowerPoint

  1. Brien

    Thank you for the tips.

    Brien Shamp

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