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and teach them how to fill out the necessary forms.
¦ I am presenting to a group of 6 to 10 midlevel managers, trying to get them to decide
as a group to buy my product.
¦ I am presenting to a group of 20 professors to convince at least some of them to use
my company™s textbooks in their classes.
¦ I am presenting to individual Internet users to explain how my company™s service
Let™s take that first example. Figure 5-1 shows some notes that a presenter might take when
preparing to explain information about employee benefits enrollment to a group of factory
workers. Jot down your own notes before moving to Step 2.
Part I ¦ Getting Functional with Office 2003

Figure 5-1: Make notes about your presentation™s purpose and audience.

Step 2: Choosing Your Presentation Method
You essentially have three ways to present your presentation to your audience, and you need
to pick the way you™re going to use up front. They include speaker-led, self-running, and
user-interactive. Within each of those three broad categories, you have some additional
choices. Before you start creating the presentation in PowerPoint, you should know which
method you are going to use because it makes a big difference in the text and other objects
you put on the slides.
Chapter 5 ¦ Developing Your PowerPoint Action Plan 105

Speaker-led presentations
The speaker-led presentation is the traditional type of presentation: you stand up in front of a
live audience (or one connected through teleconferencing) and give a speech. The slides you
create in PowerPoint become your support materials. The primary message comes from you;
the slides and handouts are just helpers. See Figure 5-2.

Figure 5-2: In a speaker-led presentation, the speaker is the main attraction; the slides
and handouts do not have to carry the burden.

With this kind of presentation, your slides don™t have to tell the whole story. Each slide can
contain just a few main points, and you can flesh out each point in your discussion. In fact,
this kind of presentation works best when your slides don™t contain a lot of information,
because people pay more attention to you, the speaker, if they™re not trying to read at the
same time. For example, instead of listing the top five reasons to switch to your service, you
might have a slide that just reads: Why Switch? Five Reasons. The audience has to listen to
you to find out what the reasons are.
This kind of presentation also requires some special planning. For example, do you want to
send each audience member home with handouts? If so, you need to prepare them. They may
or may not be identical to your PowerPoint slides; that™s up to you.
You also need to learn how to handle PowerPoint™s presentation controls, which is the subject
of an entire chapter in Wiley™s PowerPoint 2003 Bible. It can be really embarrassing to be
fiddling with the computer controls in the middle of a speech, so you should practice,
practice, practice ahead of time.
Part I ¦ Getting Functional with Office 2003

Self-running presentations
With a self-running presentation, all the rules change. Instead of using the slides as teasers or
support materials, you must make the slides carry the entire show. All the information must
be right there, because you won™t be looking over the audience™s shoulders with helpful
narration. See Figure 5-3.

Figure 5-3: In a self-running presentation, the slides carry the entire burden because
there are no handouts and no live speaker.

In general, self-running presentations are presented to individuals or very small groups.
For example, you might set up a kiosk in a busy lobby or a booth at a trade show and
have a brief (say, five slides) presentation constantly running that explains your product
or service.
Because there is no dynamic human being keeping the audience™s attention, self-running
presentations must include attention-getting features. Sounds, video clips, interesting
transitions, and prerecorded narratives are all good ways to attract viewers. Part III of this
book explains how to use sounds, videos, and other moving objects in a presentation to
add interest.
You must also consider the timing with a self-running presentation. Because there is no
way for a viewer to tell the presentation, “Okay, I™m done reading this slide; bring on the
next one,” you must carefully plan how long each slide will remain on-screen. This kind
of timing requires some practice!
Chapter 5 ¦ Developing Your PowerPoint Action Plan 107

User-interactive presentations
A user-interactive presentation is like a self-running one except the viewer has some
input, as in Figure 5-4. Rather than standing by passively as the slides advance, the viewer
can tell PowerPoint when to advance a slide. Depending on the presentation™s setup,
viewers may also be able to skip around in the presentation (perhaps to skip over topics
they™re not interested in) and request more information. This type of presentation is
typically addressed to a single user at a time, rather than a group.

Figure 5-4: In a user-interactive presentation, the audience chooses when to advance
slides and what to see next. It typically requires more time to prepare because you must
account for all possible user choices.

This kind of presentation is most typically distributed over the Internet, a company
intranet, or via CD. The user runs it using either PowerPoint or a free program called
PowerPoint Viewer that you can provide for download. You can also translate a
PowerPoint presentation to HTML format (the native format for World Wide Web pages),
so that anyone with a Web browser can view it. However, presentations lose a lot of their
cool features when you do that (such as the sound and video clips), so consider the
decision carefully.
Part I ¦ Getting Functional with Office 2003

Step 3: Choosing Your Delivery Method
Whereas the presentation method is the general conceptual way the audience interacts with
the information, the delivery method is the way that you deliver that interaction. It™s a subtle
but important difference. For example, suppose you have decided that speaker-led is your
presentation method. That™s the big picture, but how will you deliver it? Will you present
from a computer, or use 35mm slides, or overhead transparencies, or just plain old
handouts? All of those fall under the big umbrella of “speaker-led.”
PowerPoint gives you a lot of options for delivery method. Some of these are appropriate
mainly for speaker-led shows; others can be used for any presentation method. Here are
some of the choices:
¦ Computer show through PowerPoint. You can use PowerPoint™s View Show
feature to play the slides on the computer screen. You can hook up a larger, external
monitor to the PC so that the audience can see it better if needed. This requires that
PowerPoint (or the PowerPoint Viewer utility) be installed on the computer at the
presentation site. This works for speaker-led, self-running, or user-interactive shows.
¦ Computer show through a Web site. You can save your presentation in Web
format and then publish it to a Web site. You can use this for speaker-led, self-
running, or user-interactive shows, and no special software is required§just a Web
browser. However, you lose some of the cool graphical effects, including some
transitions and animation effects. Web delivery is used mostly for user-interactive
or self-running shows.
¦ Computer show on CD. You can create a CD containing the presentation and the
PowerPoint Viewer utility. The presentation starts automatically whenever the
CD is inserted into a PC. This would be most useful for user-interactive or self-
running shows.
¦ 35mm slides. For a speaker-led presentation, 35mm slides can be created. They
look good, but they require a slide projector and viewing screen, and don™t show
up well in a room with much light. You also, of course, lose all the special effects
such as animations and sounds. 35mm slides are for speaker-led shows only, as
are the next two options.
¦ Overhead transparencies. If you don™t have a computer or a slide projector
available for your speaker-led show, you might be forced to use an old-fashioned
overhead projector. You can create overhead transparencies on most printers. (Be
careful that the type you buy are designed to work with your type of printer!
Transparencies designed for inkjet printers will melt in a laser printer.)
¦ Paper. The last resort, if there is no projection media available whatsoever, is to
distribute your slides to the audience on paper. You will want to give them
handouts, but the handouts should be a supplement to an on-screen show, not the
main show themselves, if possible.

For more information on incorporating any of these delivery methods in your PowerPoint pre-
sentation, see Wiley™s PowerPoint 2003 Bible, which covers everything in detail.
Chapter 5 ¦ Developing Your PowerPoint Action Plan 109

Step 4: Choosing the Appropriate Template
and Design
PowerPoint comes with so many presentation templates and designs that you™re sure to find
one that™s appropriate for your situation. PowerPoint provides three levels of help in this
arena. You can use an AutoContent Wizard to work through a series of dialog boxes that
help you create a presentation based on a presentation template, you can apply a design
template, or you can work from scratch.
PowerPoint includes two kinds of templates: presentation templates and design templates.
Presentation templates contain sample text and sample formatting appropriate to certain
situations. For example, there are several presentation templates that can help you sell a
product or service. The AutoContent Wizard is the best way to choose a presentation template.
If you want to take advantage of the sample text provided by a presentation template, you
should make sure you choose one that™s appropriate. PowerPoint includes dozens, so you
should take some time going through them to understand the full range of options before
making your decision. Remember, once you™ve started a presentation using one presentation
template, you can™t change to another without starting over.
A design template, in contrast, is just a combination of fonts, colors, and graphics, and you
can apply a different design to any presentation at any time. Therefore, it™s not as crucial to
select the correct design up front, because you can play with these elements later.

You aren™t stuck with the color scheme or design that comes with a particular presentation
Tip template. If you like the sample text in one presentation template and the design in another,
start with the one containing the good sample text. Then borrow the design from the other one
later. Each design comes with several alternative color schemes, so pick the design first, and
then the color scheme.

Generally speaking, your choice of design should depend on the audience and the way you
plan to present. Here are some suggestions:
¦ To make an audience feel good or relaxed about a topic, use blues and greens. To
get an audience excited and happy, use reds and yellows. For slides you plan to
project on a slide screen or show on a PC, use high contrast, such as dark back-
grounds with light lettering or light backgrounds with dark lettering. For slides you
plan to print and hand out, dark on white is better.
¦ For readability in print, use serif fonts like Times New Roman. For readability
onscreen, or for a casual, modern feel, use sans-serif fonts like Arial.
¦ The farther away from the screen the audience will be, the larger you need to make
the lettering.
¦ It™s best if all slides use the same design and color scheme, but there may be
exceptions when your interests are best served by breaking that rule. For example,
you might shake things up midway through a presentation by showing a key slide
with a different color background.
Part I ¦ Getting Functional with Office 2003

Step 5: Developing the Content
Only after you have made all the decisions in Steps 1 through 4 can you start developing
your content in a real PowerPoint presentation. This is the point at which Chapter 6 of
the PowerPoint 2003 Bible picks up, guiding you through creating the file and
organizing slides.
Then comes the work of writing the text for each slide, which most people prefer to do in
Normal view. Type the text on the outline or on the text placeholder on the slide itself,
reformat it as needed to make certain bits of it special (for example, setting a key phrase in
bold or italics), and you™re ready to roll.
Developing your content may include more than just typing text. Your content may
include charts (created in PowerPoint or imported from another program, such as Excel),
pictures, and other elements.

Step 6: Creating the Visual Image
The term visual image refers to the overall impression that the audience gets from watching
the presentation. You create a polished, professional impression by making small tweaks to
your presentation after you have the content down pat.
You can enhance the visual image by making minor adjustments to the slide™s design.
For example, you can give a dark slide a warmer feel by using bright yellow instead of
white for lettering. Repositioning a company logo and making it larger may make the
headings look less lonely. WordArt can be used to take the place of regular text,
especially on a title slide (as in Figures 5-5 and 5-6). A product picture may be more
attractive in a larger size or with a different-colored mat around it. All of these little
touches take practice and experience.

Figure 5-5: The look of this sparsely populated page can be easily improved.
Chapter 5 ¦ Developing Your PowerPoint Action Plan 111

Figure 5-6: Using WordArt allows this page to make a sharper impact.

Audiences like consistency. They like things they can rely on, like a repeated company logo
on every slide, accurate page numbering on handouts, and the title appearing in exactly the
same spot on every slide. You can create a consistent visual image by enforcing such rules in
your presentation development. It™s easier than you might think, because PowerPoint
provides a Slide Master specifically for images and text that should repeat on each slide.

Step 7: Adding Multimedia Effects
If you™re creating a self-running presentation, multimedia effects can be extremely
important for developing audience interest. Flashy videos and soundtracks can make even
the most boring product fun to hear about. How about a trumpet announcing the arrival of
your new product on the market, or a video of your CEO explaining the reasoning behind
the recent merger?

Even if you are going to be speaking live, you still might want to incorporate some multimedia
elements in your show. Be careful, however, not to let them outshine you or appear gratuitous.
Be aware of your audience (see Step 1), and remember that older and higher-level managers
want less flash and more substance.

All kinds of presentations can benefit from animations and transitions on the slides.
Animations are simple movements of the objects on a slide. For example, you might make
the bullet points on a list fly onto the page one at a time so you can discuss each one on its
own. When the next one flies in, the previous ones can turn a different color so the current
one stands out. Or you might animate a picture of a car so that it appears to “drive onto”
the slide, accompanied by the sound of an engine revving. You can also animate charts by
making data series appear one at a time, so it looks like the chart is building.
Transitions are animated ways of moving from slide to slide. The most basic and boring
transition is to simply remove one slide from the screen and replace it with another, but you
can use all kinds of alternative effects like zooming the new slide in; sliding it from the top,
bottom, left, or right; or creating a fade in transition effect.
Part I ¦ Getting Functional with Office 2003

Step 8: Creating the Handouts and Notes
This step is applicable only for speaker-led presentations. With a live audience, you may want
to provide handouts so they can follow along. The handouts can be verbatim copies of your
slides, or they can be abbreviated versions with just the most basic information included as a
memory-jogger. Handouts can be either black and white or color.
PowerPoint provides several handout formats. You can print from one to nine slides per
printout, with or without lines for the audience to write additional notes. Figure 5-7 shows a
typical page from a set of audience handouts.

Figure 5-7: A live audience will appreciate having handouts to help them follow along
with the presentation and remember the content later.
Chapter 5 ¦ Developing Your PowerPoint Action Plan 113

A continual debate rages in the professional speakers™ community over when to give out hand-
outs. Some people feel that if you distribute handouts before the presentation, people will read
them and not listen to the presentation. Others feel that if you wait until after the presentation to
distribute the handouts, people will frantically try to take their own notes during the presentation
or will not follow the ideas as easily. There™s no real right or wrong, it seems, so distribute them
whenever it makes the most sense for your situation.

As the speaker, you may need your own special set of handouts with your own notes that
the audience should not see. PowerPoint calls these Notes Pages, and there is a special
view for creating them. (You can also enter notes directly into the Notes pane in Normal
view.). Notes, like handouts, are covered in Chapter 24 of Wiley™s PowerPoint 2003 Bible.

Step 9: Rehearsing the Presentation
No matter which type of presentation you are creating (speaker-led, self-running, or user-
interactive), you need to rehearse it. The goals for rehearsing, however, are different for
each type.

Rehearsing a live presentation
When you rehearse a live presentation, you check the presentation slides to ensure they are
complete, accurate, and in the right order. You may need to rearrange them and hide some of
them for backup-only use.
You should also rehearse using PowerPoint™s presentation controls that display each slide on
a monitor and let you move from slide to slide, take notes, assign action items, and even
draw directly on a slide. Make sure you know how to back up, how to jump to the beginning
or end, and how to display one of your backup slides.

Rehearsing a self-running presentation
With a speaker-led presentation, the presenter can fix any glitches that pop up or explain
away any errors. With a self-running presentation, you don™t have that luxury. The
presentation itself is your emissary. Therefore, you must go over and over it, checking it
many times to make sure it is perfect before distributing it. Nothing is worse than a self-
running presentation that doesn™t run, or one that contains an embarrassing error.
The most important feature in a self-running presentation is timing. You must make the
presentation pause the correct amount of time for the audience to be able to read the text on
each slide. The pause must be long enough so that even slow readers can catch it all, but
short enough so that fast readers do not get bored. Can you see how difficult this can be to
make perfect?
PowerPoint has a Rehearse Timings feature (Figure 5-8) designed to help you with this task.
It lets you show the slides and advance them manually after the correct amount of time has
passed. The Rehearse Timings feature records how much time you spend on each slide and
Part I ¦ Getting Functional with Office 2003

gives you a report so you can modify the timing if necessary. For example, suppose you are
working on a presentation that is supposed to last 10 minutes, but with your timings, it
comes out to only 9 minutes. You can add additional time for each slide to stretch it out to
fill the full 10 minutes.

Figure 5-8: You can rehearse timings so your audience has enough time to read the
slides but doesn™t get bored waiting for the next one.

You may also want to record voice-over narration for your presentation. You can rehearse
this too, to make sure that the voice matches the slide it is supposed to describe (which is
absolutely crucial, as you can imagine!).

Rehearsing a user-interactive presentation
In a user-interactive presentation, you provide the readers with on-screen buttons they can
click to move through the presentation, so timing is not an issue. The crucial factor with a
user-interactive presentation is link accuracy. Each button on each slide is a link. When
Chapter 5 ¦ Developing Your PowerPoint Action Plan 115

your readers click a button for the next slide, it had better darned well take them to the
next slide and not to somewhere else. And if you include a hyperlink to a Web address on
the Internet, when the readers click it, the Web browser should open and that page should
appear. If the hyperlink contains a typo and the readers see File Not Found instead of
the Web page, the error reflects poorly on you.
If you are planning to distribute your presentation via the Internet, you have a big decision
to make. You can distribute the presentation in its native PowerPoint format and preserve
all its whiz-bang features like animations and videos. However, not everyone on the
Internet owns a copy of PowerPoint, obviously, so you limit your audience. PowerPoint
supplies a free program called the PowerPoint Viewer that you can post for downloading
on your Web page, but not everyone will take the time to download and install that, so you
may turn off potential viewers before you start.
The other option is to save the presentation in HTML (Web) format. When you save in
HTML format, you convert each of the slides to a Web page, and you add links (if you
didn™t already have them) that move from slide to slide. You lose many of the animations,
transitions, sounds, videos, any animated graphics, and some other extras, but you retain
your text and most static elements of the presentation. The advantage is that everyone with
a Web browser can view your presentation with no special downloads or setup.

Step 10: Giving the Presentation
For a user-interactive or self-running presentation, giving the presentation is somewhat
anticlimactic. You just make it available and the users come get it. Yawn.
However, for a speaker-led presentation, giving the speech is the highlight, the pinnacle, of
the process. If you™ve done a good job rehearsing, you are already familiar with
PowerPoint™s presentation controls. Be prepared to back up, to skip ahead, to answer
questions by displaying hidden slides, and to pause the whole thing (and black out the
screen) so you can hold a tangential discussion.
What remains then? Nothing except setting up the room and overcoming your stage fright.

Step 11: Assessing Your Success and Refining
Your Work
If giving a presentation was a one-time thing for you ” great. It™s over, and you never
have to think about it again. But more likely, you will have to give another presentation
someday, somewhere, so don™t drive the experience out of your mind just yet. Perhaps you
learned something that might be useful to you later?
Immediately after the presentation, while it is still fresh in your mind, jot down your
responses to these questions. Then keep them on file to refer to later, the next time you
have to do a presentation!
Part I ¦ Getting Functional with Office 2003

¦ Did the colors and design of the slides seem appropriate?
¦ Could everyone in the audience read the slides easily?
¦ Did the audience look mostly at you, at the screen, or at the handouts? Was that
what you intended?
¦ Did the audience try to take notes as you were speaking? If so, did you give them
handouts with note-taking lines to write on?
¦ Was the length of the presentation appropriate? Did the audience get bored or
restless at any point?

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