Job Interview Powerpoint Presentations

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Job Interview Powerpoint Presentations Powered By Docstoc
					                   Don McCormick’s Basic PowerPoint Tips
About Fonts
1. Avoid small fonts. The bigger, the better. Small fonts are harder to
   read on screen.
2. Use “sans serif” fonts like this. Verdana is a good font to use, as it was
   specifically designed to be readable on computer screens.
3. Avoid “serif” fonts like Times New Roman. The fiddly bits at the end of
   each letter tend to blur when projected.
4. Avoid having more than two fonts per slide. More than two creates
   visual confusion, as shown by this sentence.
5. Avoid WordArt and fancy fonts; they tend to be hard to read and they look
6. Don’t use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Research shows that it makes the text harder to
   read. If you want to emphasize some text, make it bold, italicized or a larger font
   (Felker, Pickering, Charrow, Holland, & Redish, 1981).
About Text
7. Don’t write complete sentences on your slides. Write short phrases.
   You will be less tempted to read the slide word for word (Felker et al.,
8. Keep your slides simple. I try to have an average of four lines per
   slide—one heading and three bullet points. Try never to go over the 6
   by 6 rule: six lines per slide and six words per line.
Slide Layout
9. White or very light backgrounds with black letters are easier to read
   than white or light letters on dark backgrounds. If you want to use a
   template instead of a white background, “Dad’s Tie,” “Blends” and
   “Network” are examples of good templates. White backgrounds are
   more readable in rooms that aren’t completely dark and you want to
   have the room as well lit as possible, so can see your audience.
10. Use line graphs, tables and bar charts when appropriate. They create
   visual representations of data and other information that are usually
   easier for you audience to grasp than descriptions of the same
   information with words or numbers (Felker et al., 1981).
11. Research on educational multimedia (Atkinson & Mayer, 2004) shows
   that including extraneous information interferes with comprehension.
   Resist temptation to put a logo on each slide, the date, or a slide
   number. If you use page numbers, make them small, a color similar to
   its background, and unobtrusive.
Special Effects (Transitions, Sounds, Etc.)
12. Use simple, subtle slide transitions. Wild transitions and ani mations
   focus your audience’s attention on that transition, distract them from

Don McCormick                  Last Saved 11/15/2010 1:27:00 PM
   your message, and hurt your credibility. “Fade Smoothly” is my
   personal favorite.
13. Images can add a lot to many (but not all) PowerPoint presentations.
   If you use images, make sure each image clearly illustrates the point
   you are making. Be rigorous in your choice of graphics. You don’t want
   the people in your audience to hear you say something, see it reflected
   in the text on the screen, and then divert their attention to figuring out
   exactly what the picture has to do with it. In highly formal situations,
   any image may be inappropriate.
14. Avoid animated clip art. Especially ones that repeat over and over.
   They are hypnotic and distract your audience from your message.
15. Avoid adding sounds to a presentation (recorded applause, the sound
   of an arrow hitting a target, etc.). Having each letter of a word arrive
   with the sound of a typewriter key being hit doesn’t just distract your
   audience, it annoys them (and detracts from your credibi lity).
Advancing and Blacking Out Slides
16. Press the “b” key at the beginning and the end. It makes the screen
   black. That way while you are waiting to start, you don’t have to show
   the first slide and at the end you can fade to black and it can stay
   black as long as you like. This looks better than the computer desktop.
17. If you are in Slide Show mode and you want the show to go back a
   slide, press “p” on the keyboard.
18. Don’t use timed slides. Advance your slides manually with the mouse.
   You may not be able to keep up with the timed slides or an accident
   may happen that would throw off your timing.
You and the Audience
19. Talk to your audience, not the screen.
20. Avoid walking in between the projector and the screen.
21. If at all possible, practice at least once with the actual machine you
   will be using in your presentation. If you don’t, you may encounter
   some very unpleasant surprises. (At a presentation during a job
   interview, I discovered that the projector I had been assured would
   work with my Mac laptop didn’t.)
22. After you have prepared your presentation, practice it several times.
   Time your practice presentation.
Assume the Worst
23. Always assume that the data projector won’t work. Or that it doesn’t
   contain the fonts you used in your presentation. Or that your data ha s
   been corrupted and you don’t’ know it. Make back up visual aids (such
   as black and white overhead projector slides, printed handouts, etc.).
   At the job interview mentioned above, I brought overhead slides as a
   backup, used them instead, and got the job.

Don McCormick          Last Saved 11/15/2010 1:27:00 PM
24. Use “Three slides per page” for printing audience handouts. That way
   your audience has a copy of each slide you have and has some room to
   the right of each slide to jot down notes.
Most of these tips are illustrated in the handout from one of my
PowerPoint presentations printed on the back of this page.
Advanced Tips
Above were the basic tips. For the advanced tips, go to
This pamphlet, “Five Ways to Reduce PowerPoint Overload” (Atkinson &
Mayer, 2004) is one of the best things I’ve ever read on PowerPoint.
These advanced tips suggest a very different style than the one described
in the basic tips above.

Atkinson, C., & Mayer, R. E. (2004). Five ways to reduce PowerPoint
      overload. Retrieved March 2, 2007, from
Felker, D. B., Pickering, F., Charrow, B. R., Holland, V. M., & Redish, J. C.
      (1981). Guidelines for Document Designers. Washington, DC:
      American Institutes for Research.

Don McCormick                Last Saved 11/15/2010 1:27:00 PM
Don McCormick   Last Saved 11/15/2010 1:27:00 PM

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