Guidelines for Effective PowerPoint Presentations Before you begin, brainstorm some notes about your audience: –Who will be viewing the presentation? –What is their level of knowledge on your topic? –What might they expect to see while you speak? –What types of visual rhetoric will be effective? –What layouts and colors will be appropriate? Using Text in PowerPoint Text in PowerPoint slides should not be a script for your presentation. Instead, it should serve as an outline to guide and reinforce your key points so that your audience can easily follow along with your oral discussion. Because PowerPoint presentations convey large amounts of information in a relatively small space, their text requires even more demanding grammar control and editing than regular essays. Bulleted Lists Bulleted Lists are the most often used format for PowerPoint text. Bulleted lists are not free license to write whatever you please. In fact, effective lists follow very specific rules. Use the following slides to guide your format. Bulleted Lists Bulleted lists can be effective for quickly conveying sets of simple, related information, or for listing simple steps in a process. However, bullets should only be used when multiple things are listed, generally at least three. Since bulleted lists do not allow commentary, explanation, or elaboration, use them only when the information is perfectly clear. Bulleted Lists Bulleted items may be complete sentences, but they are generally presented as fragments: » single words » short phrases » clauses However, this does not mean you have license to do what you please with wording. LISTS MUST USE PARALLEL STRUCTURE! Parallel Structure Whether using sentences or phrases, bulleted lists must maintain PARALLEL STRUCTURE. • If the first item starts with a verb, all must. • If the first uses an –ing verbal phrase, all must. • If the first begins adjective noun, all must. • And so on. Bulleted Lists If one item in a list is a complete sentence, all must be. Park features: –A central fountain is the primary focus. –A sculpture in the fountain reflects the theme. –All paths lead to the fountain. –Groups of seating face the fountain. Parallel Structure Single Words Must All Be the Same Parts of Speech • Noun • Verb • Adjective • Noun • Verb • Adjective • Noun • Verb • Adjective In his Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1841), Andrew Jackson Downing recommends these trees for picturesque landscapes: • Elm • Oak • Walnut • Ash • Larch • Lombardy Poplar Parallel Structure The following example shows a list of verb phrases: To create a picturesque pond where none previously existed, – Find a low location with a natural spring or stream. – Be sure the location has a natural egress to prevent stagnation. – Use a level to plan the edges of the water. – Dig and/or fill areas to create a jagged, irregular border. – Vary the elevation around the edge of the water. – Create variety along the border with pebbles, rocks, and plantings. – Utilize old tree stumps and moss-covered rocks to suggest age. Parallel Structure The following example shows a list of verb phrases that complete the infinitive (“to” form): Downing recommends using curving paths to – create a more natural landscape – allow more diverse views – control the approach to the main residence – provide more pleasing opportunities for exercise Parallel Structure The following example shows a list of –ing verb phrases: In laying out walks and paths, Downing recommends: – Using easy flowing curves – Avoiding sharp angles and abrupt turn – Following the natural shapes of the surface – Providing reason for the curves (avoiding trees, rocks, etc.) Parallel Structure The following list uses parallel noun phrases: Downing recommends specific features to create a picturesque effect: – Easy undulations in the ground’s surface – Deliberate groupings of trees with luxuriant branches and full foliage – Curved paths without straight lines or sharp angles curves – Smooth lakes with irregular margins Parallel Structure Capitalization and Punctuation Bulleted lists using complete sentences should always capitalize the first word of each item and use a period at the end of each item. If the bulleted list uses fragments, it does not matter whether the first word of each item is capitalized, but BE CONSISTENT—not only within each list, but throughout any lists within the same project. Using Images in PowerPoint Images should help illustrate points in your oral presentation. Images should clearly convey information. Images should be appropriate for your audience. Using Images in PowerPoint Types of Images you might consider: • Photographs • Drawings • Diagrams • Tables • Charts • Graphs • Maps • Video Using Citations in PowerPoint Like any other project, PowerPoint presentations require appropriate documentation. As in an essay, you may use parenthetical citations or name your source in the text on the slide. For quoted text (words) or cited statistics, include your source on the slide. For images, graphs, maps, etc., you may either include the citation on the page, or add a slide at the end for image credits. The final slide of your presentation should be a reference list. References Brown, R. (2006). New “old” trends in landscape design. Landscape Architecture, 24(1), 44-72. Downing, A. J. (1841). Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Henry Addams Publications. Jones, B. (1997). Downing’s use of picturesque design. Landscape History, 8(4), 19-27. Logan, H. (2001, June). Preserving historic landscapes. This Old House Magazine, 27-31.
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