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The Best Sources Of Advice For Making Good Presentations

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'2012 Green Heart Schools public speaking competition' photo (c) 2012, Brisbane City Council - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Helping our students learn how to deliver good presentations, and helping ourselves practice what we preach, is always a challenging exercise (at least, it is for me). I thought it might be useful to create a “The Best…” list with the resources that I’ve found useful for doing both.

Here are my picks for The Best Sources Of Advice For Making Good Presentations:

10 Powerpoint Tips for Preparing a Professional Presentation

Ten Tips For Students In Making A Good Presentation by Dr. Delaney Kirk (Thanks to Angela Maiers for the tip)

5 Ways to Ruin Your Next Presentation (thanks to Doug Peterson for the tip)

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

The TED Commandments – rules every speaker needs to know

Tom Peters On Presentations

From design to meaning: a whole new way of presenting?

Top Ten Delivery Tips from Garr Reynolds

Make Better Presentations – The Anatomy of a Good Speech

Really Bad PowerPoint by Seth Godin

Brain Rules For Presenters (thanks to EdTech Update for the tip)

The 10 Worst Presentation Habits

This is a very interesting post about the Glance Test:

“…slides should be processed in 3 seconds or less. It’s impossible for people to process your slides and your words simultaneously. The test gives you a quantifiable way to test a slide’s viability as a glance medium by calculating a signal-to-noise ratio for individual slides.”

This can be a very useful tool for both teachers and students to keep in mind when developing any kind of presentation slides.

How To Give A Lousy Presentation is the title of a short and simple Business Week article.

The Problem With PowerPoint is an excellent article from the BBC.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is a very helpful slideshow by the author of the book with the same name. I was surprised by how much I learned from it.

Check-out what the Dilbert comic strip has to say about PowerPoint.

Public Speaking – How I Prepare Every Time

13 Best Practice Tips for Effective Presentation Handouts shares some excellent ideas.

The Duarte blog has a great post about the presentation of a fifteenth century Italian architect. It’s titled Great Moments in Presentation History: The Architect and the Egg.

Its focus is what they call S.T.A.R. Moments ™. This is how they define it:

S.T.A.R. stands for “Something They’ll Always Remember” and S.T.A.R. Moments refer to the memorable moments in a presentation that stick in the minds of your audience long after the presentation is over.

They have another post titled Of S.T.A.R.s and Mosquitoes that talks about these moments at TED Talks, including when Bill Gates let some mosquitoes loose on the crowd.

It’s a good idea to keep in mind when planning a presentation — what is that one defining moment to want to happen?

Dodging Bullets In Presentations is a useful slideshow to review.

Check-out the winners of Slideshare’s 2009 World’s Best Presentation Contest.

The World’s Worst PowerPoint Presentations comes from PC World Magazine (Thanks to Interesting Pile for the tip)

PowerPoint Hell: Don’t Let This Happen to Your Next Presentation also comes from PC World.

How to avoid creating a snooze-worthy PowerPoint presentation is a post from “10,000 Words.”

Story Power in Presentations is a very good post on the importance of using stories in presentations. In fact, it provides “biometric evidence” demonstrating its effectiveness.

I have numerous examples of bad and good PowerPoint presentations on this list. This one may “take the cake,” though. Check-out If Only Martin Luther King Had Modern Software and Jargon: the Powerpoint Version of “I Have a Dream” (PPT). Then watch his actual speech. I show this contrast to my International Baccalaureate Theory Of Knowledge class as they prepare for their Oral Presentations.

100 Things You Should Know About People: #56: People Process Information Best In Story Form

Here’s a video from the organizer of Ignite presentations (somewhat similar to TED Talks) giving advice on how to present at those conferences. It, too, provides good advice on giving public presentations. Anecdote shares some additional advice related to the video.

“What makes a great scientific talk?” is an excellent post by David Winter. His advice, though, is excellent for any kind of presentation — not just one related to science.

“Clean Up Your Mess: A Guide To Visual Design For Everyone” provides the most accessible advice I’ve see on visual design — whether it be for websites, ads, slides, etc.

The Secrets of Storytelling: Public Speaking, Part 1

The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn

8 Simple Storytelling Tips For Business Owners

Check-out the Worst PPT Slide Contest Winners and read design advice from the contest organizers.

Here are a few short videos on making good PowerPoint presentations:

Visual Bee is a plug-in for creating PowerPoint presentations. It seems to automatically make them snazzier. In some ways it reminds me of how changing themes in this blog works — you type in the basic info, and then you can try out how it looks in a zillion different themes and then choose one. Thanks to Vicki Davis for the tip.

“How To Kick Butt On A Panel” is a great piece Guy Kawasaki shared at Google+. He’s also written tips on how to be a good moderator of a panel discussion.

5 things audiences hate about presentations is a useful Slideshare presentation. Thanks to Donna Baumbach for the tip.

Storytelling lessons from Bill Cosby is from Presentation Zen.

Five Tips for Creating PowerPoint Slides that WON’T Bore Your Audience is from Bill Ferriter.

How To Open a Speech or Presentation offers some helpful hints.

I’ve heard/read about Nancy Duarte’s perspective on telling good stories before, and generally thought it was a bit convoluted and not helpful. However, either because I was feeling a little more patient (maybe I was also more willing to hear it) or because she did a better job explaining it, I got far more out of this recent TEDx presentation she made:

Cartoon: PowerPoint Fever is from The New Yorker via This Week in Education.

How to Present like Steve Jobs is from Kiss Metrics.

The Secret to Dynamic Presentations is from Leadership Freak.

What I’m Looking For at ISTE 2012 is from Engaging Educators and offers good advice for presenting at any conference.

How to Get — and Keep — Someone’s Attention is from Annie Murphy Paul.

The Grim Reaper Understands How To Design A Good PowerPoint Slide

5 great ways to end a speech is from Ragan’s PR Daily.

Five Killer Tips for a Confident Presentation is from The Glass Hammer.

How To Give A Great Speech is from Forbes.

Nancy Duarte has an excellent series in the Harvard Business Review about making good presentations. Links to each one of the other short articles can be found at the bottom of the one I link to….

Tips For Making Presentations Better is an accessible video from English Central.

Secrets From a TED2013 Speaker: Preparing for the “Talk of One’s Life” has helpful advice for any presentation.

This inaugural quote is from Marta Kagan in 7 Lessons From the World’s Most Captivating Presenters. I’m adding this info to The Best Sources Of Advice For Making Good Presentations:

Speaking activity: Presentation skills is a nice interactive from The BBC.

DEATH TO POWERPOINT: HOW TO SPEAK LIKE A PRO WITHOUT THE SLIDES is from Fast Company.

Don’t Be Boring: A Surefire Approach to Engaging Your Audience — Part 1 is by Nancy Duarte.

Suggestions and feedback, as always, are welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

14 Comments

  1. Hi Larry, here’s a SmartLemming.com new post on presentation skills:

    Smart Lemming Rundown: 10 Simple Secrets of the World’s Greatest Business Communicators

    Link: http://smartlemming.com/2009/06/smart-lemming-rundown-10-simple-secrets-of-the-worlds-greatest-business-communicators/

    Lori Grant

  2. Thank you for mentioning Garr in your post. I work for Peachpit Press and thought you and your readers might be interested in knowing that he just released his first online streaming video, Presentation Zen: The Video, where he expands on the ideas presented in his book and blog. More info can be found here:

    http://tr.im/lFvO

  3. Not to be forgotten speedy presentation techniques such as Pecha Kucha20×20 (20slides auto-advancing every 20sec) http://www.pecha-kucha.org or Ignite by O’Reilly20×15 http://ignite.oreilly.org.
    Hugely popular because of the snappy presentations and from my own experience, a sobering excercise.
    Rgds Heike

  4. Brilliant post and thanks so much for compiling this list. Methinks a very important and oft shared bookmark!

    Karenne

  5. I’ve been looking for resources on giving PowerPoint presentations so that I can help my students learn this skill. What I’m really looking for is an example of someone giving a GOOD PowerPoint presentation. If anyone knows of one on youtube, I would love to see a link. I can do one myself for them, but I’ve actually been to some conferences where the speakers did awesome presentations using PowerPoint the way it is meant to be used, and I’d love to show something like this to my students, regardless of the topic. Thanks!

    • Hi Amanda,

      Nice to hear of someone searching for an example of PowerPoint being used effectively! It so often is the other way (and yes, there are lots of examples of bad PowerPoint presentations!).

      Whilst the videos we recently posted onto our YouTube channel may not be EXACTLY what you’re after, I hope they’ll give you some food for thought:

      http://www.youtube.com/user/eyefulpresentations

      In the meantime, I’d recommend viewing Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”, a presentation designed by Duarte Design (http://www.duarte.com)

      Hope this helps!

      Simon

  6. Hi Amanda,

    Earlier I mentioned to Larry a Pecha Kucha, speedy presentation technique.

    If you would like to learn what Pecha Kucha is all about, please watch this recorded presentation of mine, which is a Pecha Kucha about Pecha Kucha.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ4supn_I3g

    Incidentally we had a Pecha Kucha night at the Virtual Round Table conference on Fri, Nov 13 and were able to watch 7 Pecha Kuchas at that time. One was better than the other. It was amazingly brilliant. These were recorded and I am in the middle of processing the recordings. Once they are done, I will send you the links.

    I am sure you will very much enjoy sharing them with your learners.

    Rgds Heike

  7. i found this site very useful.
    this would totally be in good use
    why didn’t i think of this?

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  10. Hi all,

    You might also find this PDF a useful addition to the other sources listed…

    http://www.eyefulpresentations.com/beatingdeathbyppt/

    Enjoy!

    Simon

  11. i learned that when you create a powerpoint you have to make sure that you keep the design basic and simple. Use the same font face and sizes on all slides. a poor choice of color can shatter your presentation. And also NEVER read your powerpoint, keywords only. Your slides are ONLY there to guide you. and have more images in your slides than text !

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