If you search on the internet and elsewhere for tips on good presentations, you will find a huge amount of conflicting information about what makes a good or bad PowerPoint. The only thing you can do with this conflicting information is to follow the ideas which make good sense to you and which seem to be in keeping with what your teachers are expecting you to produce.
I will now give you my own ideas, but I don't expect you to follow them to the letter, even if it is me who will be assessing your presentations in the future! I recognise that there is more than one way to skin a cat...
- LESS IS MORE - the less you put on each slide, the better. Why? Firstly, the small amount of content will be easier for your listeners to read, as you can make it big enough to be easily visible from all corners of the room. Secondly, you can force your listeners to focus on each point in turn, in line with your own speaking - if there are three points on the slide, your listeners will be reading about the third point while you are still speaking about the first.
- A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS - this is especially true if you are talking about things, people or places which are likely to be unfamiliar to your listeners.
- BE QUIET WHEN YOU SHOW A NEW SLIDE - the attention of your listeners will automatically be drawn to the new slide, so there is no point in talking until they have had a chance to look.
- DON'T READ OUT WHAT IS ON THE SLIDE - you know your listeners are able to read, otherwise you wouldn't be putting words on the slide. Let them read the words for themselves, then explain, comment, add extra information as necessary.
- BE SPARING WITH THE SPECIAL EFFECTS AND FUNKY BACKGROUNDS - really, this is down to personal taste. I don't like them at all myself, but don't let that stop you using them - I would never mark someone down for using a coloured background or having words fly in. However, be sparing - the backgrounds can make the words difficult to read and the special effects can be very distracting.
- CHECK THE TECHNOLOGY IF POSSIBLE - in our classroom at INTO, what you see on the computer screen is not the same as what you actually see on the Interactive Whiteboard - what looks clear, bright and sharp on your laptop at home may not look as good when you actually do your presentation in class. If you get the chance to try it out in advance, do so - and if that's not possible be cautious in your use of shading and pale fonts.
I hope these tips are helpful, but feel free to challenge me - I'm always open to new ideas, and I recognise that a lot of it comes down to personal preference.