• Define presentation application and provide examples (e.g., Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Google Docs).
• Discuss the use of presentations in libraries.
• Describe best practices in developing and conducting technology-enhanced presentations.
• Identify and provide examples of web-based presentation tools.
Whether presenting a budget to the library board or conducting a workshop for library users, library and information professionals are often called upon to create presentations.
The key to an effective presentation isn’t the latest technology “bells and whistles”. Instead, it’s applying the most effective tools to create dynamic presentations that use the power of text, graphics, audio, and video to convey messages.
Presentation software applications allow the user to create large group presentations, self-running slide shows, interactive kiosk programs, narrated tutorials, and other types of slide-based presentations.
Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote are two popular presentation software packages.
Google Docs is a web-based suite of applications with a presentation tool.
Presentation Tool Best Practices
As you design presentations, keep the following best practices in mind.
- Identify the needs of the audience and the goal of the presentation.
- Design or apply a template that reflects the tone of the presentation.
- Use a consistent approach to each slide.
- Organize information in a meaningful way. Tell a story, provide a chronology, or share a set of related ideas.
- Provide practical examples to illustrate key concepts.
- Use minimal text placing emphasis on action words.
- Use high-contrast colors to ensure readability. Avoid red because it doesn’t project well.
- Limit the number of colors, fonts, and styles used on a slide. Use clean, easy-to-read fonts.
- Select font sizes and styles that can easily be read at a distance.
- Create a prototype slide that can be tested in the presentation room. The audience should be able to read your slides from the back of the room.
- Limit text and use visuals whenever possible.
- Select high-quality images that can be seen from the back of the room.
Do not try to enlarge small graphics because they will appear pixelated.
- Select images that contribute to understanding such as compelling photographs, descriptive charts, and engaging graphs.
- Use arrows and circles on images to draw attention. This is particularly important with screen captures that may be different to see from a distance.
- Use animation, transitions, and sound effects only if they contribute to the message.
- Incorporate media such as sound or video clips to add interest or present examples.
- Embed questions or opportunities for audience interaction with the content.
- When sharing presentations online, provide voice-over narration.
Web-based Presentation Tools
You're probably familiar with tools such as PowerPoint for creating slides shows, however there are some great online tools to help you create slide shows too. You can use these to create slide shows, then embed them in your website. Web-based presentation tools such as Google Docs: Presentations and Prezi are effective tools for creating online presentations.
With Google Docs, PowerPoint presentations can be uploaded and downloaded into and out of the software. Sharing features allow collaboration and comments.
With Prezi, nonlinear presentations can be played off-line using a software utility or on various devices with the Prezi app.
Watch the Prezi video at YouTube.
Try Prezi. Compare it to PowerPoint. What are the pros and cons of each?
Beyond Bullet Points
Presentation tools can be used for many applications beyond large group presentations.
Create self-running, promotional slide shows for presentation monitors in and outside the library. Most presentation software contains tools for creating self-running slideshows that will automatically loop the presentation over and over again.
Create self-instructional kiosks that provide library tours, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), and technical assistance. Look for options in the presentation software for the creation of buttons that will take users to different slides depending on their choices.
Create short, narrated tutorials and informational pieces about the library. Most presentation software contain an option to add audio to each slide. This is an easy way to create tutorials.
Both desktop and web-based presentation applications are available.
Keep in mind that presentations are only as good as the quality of the content along with the effectiveness of the presentation layout and design.
Most presentation tools can be used to create materials such as self-instructional tutorials, FAQ kiosks, and another types of presentations and slide shows.