Designing Your Presentation:
I recommend you focus on the message first, then the content. Let me explain why. Your reports run approximately 50 – 100 pages in length. There is absolutely no way that you are going to cram all that detail into a presentation within the timeframes mentioned above. DON”T EVEN TRY!!!
What do you want the audience to know about your topic and why was it so important that you gave up four months of your life to work on it (this includes OEL690 and OEL695)? Ask yourself, how can I connect with the audience (the thousands in attendance and the millions in the television audience; well this may be a slight exaggeration; let’s go with one in the audience and no one watching on television) and what is the information I need to make this connection happen. Don’t look at this as a report presentation, rather, you are telling a story or narrative. A story or narrative promotes flow, flow promotes passion, and passion generates audience interest.
In my Week 6 Instructor lecture, I gave you an outline you can follow to promote a story or narrative yet still customize the presentation specifically to your study. I can state unequivocally that this will work as this is how we presented our dissertations at our dissertation defense when I was pursuing my doctoral degree. The information contained in the dissertation was substantially longer; more detailed, and contained vastly more technical information than what was included in your papers. It allowed us to present our studies in the “English language” versus “techno-speak”. It allowed us to flush out the most important information and leave the rest to the side; only to be raised if the audience asked questions. You do not need or want slides filled with hundreds of numbers. There may be a few that are critical to your study, if at all.
Here were the main components listed in my Week 6 announcement:
Interest in this research topic occurred because/when/after . . .
The project objective research question(s) was (were) . . .
The research method(s) was (were) . . .
The sample or participants consisted of . . .
The instrument(s) was (were) . . .
The data collection process(s) was (were) . . .
The response rate (if applicable) was . . .
The data analysis process was . . .
The major findings were . . .
Based on these findings, these conclusions were reached . . .
Recommendations are . . .
In closing . . . (Provide a brief summative statement about the project).
Just as an additional thought when creating and delivering presentations, I find that if you follow Covey’s advice, “Begin with the End in Mind”, it may make the process of creating the presentations easier.
Creating the PowerPoint:
You have already seen the lectures in the Course Content Folder and the videos so I will not repeat those mechanics to you again. Do pay particular attention to my Instructor Lecture and PowerPoint about creating presentations as it clearly defines the formatting guidelines you must employ.
The key here is to make sure that the content you include in each slide effectively communicates your message in a clear, direct, and straightforward manner and to do it in such a way that the key concepts are remembered by the audience.
Each slide should focus on one key theme at most. You have a lot of flexibility in accomplishing this goal from the use of bullet points, to a picture that elicits multiple senses or emotions in an individual. Less is more in many instances.
You do not need fancy designs or utilize the most advanced features in PowerPoint. Keep the slide design simple and clean. Be consistent in your formatting of each slide. All slide formatting should be the consistent (think cookie-cutter format) through the entire presentation.
Your Agenda slide should only have 4-5 bullets at most. You are trying to “hook the audience” not give your entire presentation. You can combine items in these bullets.
The video links from Week 6 indicated using pictures, images, etc. While this is very good advice, it may not be appropriate for your study given the topic and time constraints you are working under. Don’t insert pictures just for the sake of decorating your slides. Any pictures used must provide a value-add to the slide’s message.
You may decide to incorporate graphs or tables in your presentation. Don’t just copy a table from your report as it may contain too much information for one slide. Create a table appropriate for the key information you want to emphasize.
Again, you do not need speaker notes and you do not need to incorporate voice-overs in your PowerPoint.
You must include all References from your Capstone Report in your PowerPoint. This will obviously take multiple slides. The critical formatting difference on these slides is that you will use a size 12 font for all your references instead of the minimum size 20 font stated earlier. The title on these slides should be the standard font size 36-40. You can also include as many references on a slide as is reasonable, staying within the borders of the slide design you use.
Common Presentation Design Issues:
The following are common corrections that need to be made that fall into the category “Tom Barron Pet Peeves”:
Slide designs where the design places the title half-way down the slide, resulting in a huge title and little slide content. What is more important, the slide content or the title? Choose a simple slide design. There are no “interior designer” evaluation components in the PowerPoint evaluation rubric.
Be consistent in your formatting of each slide. All slide formatting should be the consistent through the entire presentation. This includes but is not limited to the use of bullets, font selection, and font size.
Slide title font size: 36 – 40
Absolute minimum font size for all slide content: 20 (This also holds true for tables, figures, diagrams).
Be sure the words on your slide do not go over the slide design background itself.
Pay attention to the coloring of the slide background and foreground lettering. There must be a sharp contrast between the two.
Only 4-5 bullets at most per slide.
Do not write bullet narratives that resemble paragraphs in a paper. Keep these short and direct.
Do not write the word “(continued)” in the slide title on successive slides on the same topic.
Delivering the Presentation:
Be real, be yourself, in both all your glory and with all your flaws. Don’t fret the little things but do continuously work on improving those flaws.
There are always time constraints associated with a presentation. Respect the most valuable asset of each member of the audience, their time. Be direct; plan for questions, and never exceed your total allotted time. The only way to accomplish this is actually practicing your presentation aloud.
Your PowerPoint is the best set of “index cards” you can use in a presentation. Although you always have backup materials in case technology fails, plan on delivering the entire presentation without additional notes other than the PowerPoint.
You are NOT allowed to read a prepared script or speech.
I have deliberately designed the presentation process to be more of a relaxed conversation between you and me versus a high stake, win or lose proposition. I will not throw any curveballs at you. In fact, the agenda for your presentation time will be as follows:
You give your presentation
I may ask a question or two and make some comments about your overall project.
I will ask you how I can improve this course.
I will ask you how we can improve the overall program.
I will review a few “administrative” things you should have taken care of or should take care of immediately.
You do not need special technology for your presentation. When delivering your presentation over the phone, you will be able to use your own desktop or laptop in front of you at your location. Be sure to either post your final PowerPoint in Blackboard or email it to me prior to giving your presentation.