Draft Public 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:
- Statement of the problem;
- Evidence on the severity and scope of the problem (i.e., the specific problem);
- Description of the action;
- Evidence that the action would help;
- How the action would be evaluated.
- Plan one slide per minute
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.
- Slides should show rather than tell
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.
- Minimize bullet points
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.
- Avoid full sentences or long blocks of text
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.
- Annotate illustrations
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.
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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University