Improving powerpoint presentations, or RTFM.

I use powerpoint most weeks to do some sort of presentation or other. I prefer presenting without it, but if you need to explain new features  it is tough to start with “imagine a screen”

Tomorrow I’m at the UK user group, and I’ll be singing for my supper about what’s new in ERP2005. 

 SAP produces more powerpoints than it knows what to do with. There must be armies (or small divisions)  of ‘artistic’ folks building fabulous graphics and animations  to explain Service Orientated Architecture and ERP upgrades, never mind all the internal secret stuff.  Sometimes  I look at the slides and I feel like I’m in a really  modern art gallery.  Some of the stuff I just don’t get. 

The worst thing about presenting a corporate slide deck, other than sometimes turgid text,  is not knowing exactly which graphic masterpiece slide is coming next.  If you aren’t exactly perfectly prepared  you get as shellshocked as the audience does when the 15 point animation pops up mid-sentence.  I end up have to print out a copy, and this is a pain. It means fiddling with paper instead of prancing balmeresque across the stage.

No longer.  A colleague sent me a tip (via the weekly helpful tip from SAP IT which I only read annually)

Perhaps this is something you all know, or maybe it is a secret revealed only if you know the special Microsoft powerpoint handshake, but anyway. It made me wish I’d read the manual.

PowerPoint’s built-in “Presenter View” enables you to display your slides through the projector as usual while simultaneously viewing the slide on the projector and having the upcoming slides, notes and a timer on your laptop. To set up:

  1. Right click on the desktop and select Properties
  2. On the Settings tab, select the second monitor and check “Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor” and click OK
  3. In PowerPoint, select Slideshow Set Up Show
  4. Under the Multiple Monitors section:
    1. Select Display slide show on Monitor 2
    2. Check Show Presenter View and click OK
  5. Open your slideshow and press F5. You are now in the “Presenter View”:
    • The slide that is currently on the projector (top center)
    • Your notes (bottom center)
    • Upcoming slides (left)
    • Various controls (right and middle)

Thanks to Sindy Sulistija for this tip

I’ll be giving this a bash tomorrow, assuming I can remember the 5 steps.

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3 thoughts on “Improving powerpoint presentations, or RTFM.

  1. See, now if you used a mac, you would have known this long ago as anytime you go to presentation mode in a mac while there is a secondary screen attached to your PowerBook, PPT will automatically switch to that mode. . .

    BTW Thomas, that YouTube clip was a little annoying. ;-)

  2. The issue with PowerPoint is that most people use it as a set of speaker notes. What they should do is to use to make a visually interesting world.

    Remember, the audience retain the following:

    70% what you LOOKED like, including your visuals
    20% How you SOUNDED
    10% WHAT you said.

    So, use PowerPoint, but use as an art package, like David Byrne of Talking Heads did. For this, the internal divide between graphics development and real world issues is not very helpful.

    I develop nearly, ALL of my own slides myself,and I would say that capturing all of the visuals for the client is a major advantage. One picture, sadly, really is worth a thousand words….

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