Peter J Wilcoxen > MAX 401 Civic Engagement Action Plan Workshop

Tips on Presentations

Here is some information that may help you in preparing your presentation.


Prepare a professional grade PowerPoint presentation for a public audience. The presentation should be 6-7 minutes long and should make a reasoned and empirically-supported case for your action. The first slide must be a title slide with the following information: Title of the project, your name, the name of the program (i.e., “Maxwell Program on Citizenship and Civic Engagement”), and the university.  The remainder of the presentation should cover the following topics:


  1. Plan One Slide Per Minute
  2. As a very rough rule of thumb, expect to have about 1 slide per minute unless the information on them is very sparse (i.e., photos that can be grasped quickly). You may be able to combine some of the topics above onto a single slide (e.g., the first two points) in order to have more space to describe your action.
  3. Show Rather Than Tell
  4. Wherever possible, use the slides to show rather than tell. You’re doing the telling and the slides will be most engaging when they help show what you mean. Use diagrams, pictures and graphs.
  5. Minimize Bullet Points
  6. A slide full of bullets is often just repeating what you're saying verbally. That's dull for the audience and usually not necessary to get your point across. The slides should accompany and illustrate your talk, not just repeat what you’re saying.
  7. No Full Sentences or Blocks of Text
  8. It's especially important to avoid full sentences or long blocks of text. People can't read and listen at the same time. If there's a long block of text people will either skip it or ignore you briefly to read it. The only exception is when you need a direct quote to illustrate a point.
  9. Consider Annotating Illustrations
  10. It often works well to add text, arrows, or other annotation to a photo or other illustration. It's audience-friendly and reduces the need for bullets. This is most useful when it may not be obvious who or what is shown in a photo, or which feature of a graph or object is most important.


Grading Rubric
How presentations will be evaluated.
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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 08/22/2018