Draft Public Presentation
Due Wednesday 4/20 by 11:59 pm.
Prepare a professional-grade PowerPoint presentation for a public audience.Here are the formal specifications:
- It should be 7-8 minutes long and should make a reasoned and empirically-supported case for your action. There will be another couple of minutes for questions.
- It should be submitted as a PDF via your channel in Teams by 11:59 pm on the Wednesday before the presentation.
Please don't forget that it needes to be PDF: the presentations will be combined into a single long file and PDF format keeps the styles in different presentations from interfering with each other.
Details on the presentation's structure
The first slide must be a title page with the following information: (1) Title of the project, (2) your name, (3) the name of the program (i.e., “Maxwell Program on Citizenship and Civic Engagement”), (4) the university, and (5) the date of the presentation.
The remaining slides should cover the topics below but shouldn't use those literal headings. That is, don't say "Description of the action"; rather, say something appropriate for your actual project. Also, you do NOT need to have exactly one slide for each point: sometimes you may want to put more than one point on a slide, and other times you may need to use several slides to make one point.
- What's the problem? (statement of the problem)
- How bad is it? (evidence on the severity and scope of the problem)
- What's the action? (description of the action)
- Why is it likely to work? (evidence that the action would help address the problem)
- How will we know if it does? (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). As mentioned above, you may be able to combine some things onto a single slide (e.g., the first two points) in order to have more space available to describe your action.
- Slides should SHOW not tell
Wherever possible, use the slides to show rather than tell: it's a visual medium. 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.
Examples of good and bad slides
- A PDF file of slides from some of my own presentations annotated to indicate what works well and what doesn't. Purple annotations are comments on the slides and weren't present in the original presentations. "TMW" is short for "Too many words"; that is, too much text on the slide that isn't really necessary.
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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University