|How to work with the PowerPoint templates / How to print in Black & White|
|Key Points for Video Presentations|
|Our white paper on video conferencing|
Delivery and receipt of ‘information’ across multiple sites is different for both presenters and participants. How different depends on the technological resources at the various sites and the quality of voice/video transmission among sites, which will influence what people—presenters or participants—see and hear. Use of TV monitors, for instance, instead of large projection screens for the display of overhead slides or a PowerPoint presentation make a difference—text and graphics that are very readable on a large project screen may be difficult to read on a monitor.
The important thing to realize is that—with some reflection on the actual Group Meeting experience, testing of alternatives, and flexibility during presentations—problems of transition from the one site to multi-site video presentation can be overcome and the benefits of broader participation realized. Notice what doesn’t work or what isn’t happening and use what you notice to move to something better. Reflect on the experience as presenter or participant. Offer constructive feedback.
These admonitions apply to more than just the technology. The Group Meeting is a particular kind of communicative event. Among the Center’s communication structures, it is a vehicle for bringing together people with a broad common interest in one of the thrust areas to share, learn, raise problems, offer solutions, and (add your own outcome). Just as with the technology, if what is happening is not what you as presenter or participant wish to happen, it is within your power to raise that as an issue.
Take control! Feedback is a primary vehicle for taking control. You can initiate feedback as part of the Group Session or in follow up. As a presenter, feel free to ask for feedback from the audience or help from the operator at your site. As a listener, offer your feedback—let the presenter know when you are lost, can’t see important details, or would like a more detailed explanation. The Group Meetings can be whatever you wish them to be, but only with reflection and constructive action. [You can also provide feedback on any aspect of the Group Meetings, which will be treated anonymously, through the Social Science Research Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Visual aids increase retention of material—the audience needs to be able to see them!
Guidelines for PowerPoint presentations/transparencies typically suggest a minimum of 20point for headlines and 16 point for other text. While this works fine in most presentation situations, it is too small for the TV Monitor situation. Go bigger! [Text in 28point is visible from the last row of the Video Conference room in Peabody Hall on the UNC campus.] NOTE: If you use transparencies, it may be possible to use the zoom feature available at most presentations consoles to zoom in (or ask the operator to do so).
For text, use keywords or short phrases instead of sentences. Avoid the tendency to include everything you wish to say on the display.
All upper case text is harder to read than lower case (with capitalization as appropriate).
Size is an issue for graphics too. Many presenters include multiple charts, graphs, etc. on a slide. This can actually be an effective way of placing related views of data together to show comparatively the ‘shape’ of what happened in an experiment. It is not an effective way of communicating details! Move to a larger full screen view when discussing a particular graph so that the audience can see those details (e.g., units of measure). This might be done by zooming (remember you have the power!) or moving to a detail slide, which focuses on a particular graphic.
Black text on a white background is not as effective a color scheme as a dark background with light text. A dark blue background with yellow header and white text is a color scheme that provides better visual clarity, especially on a TV monitor, than black and white. Red text tends to look blurry on a TV monitor. A possible template for slides is attached. If you use an overhead camera to display your slides, paper copies work best because they minimize the reflection from the lights. Use of a stack of sheets (in presentation order) also minimizes the time for changing from one slide to the next as all the presenter needs to do is remove the top sheet from the stack.
Get what you need/want out of the presentation! The main purpose of the presentation for many presenters is (seemingly) to get it over with as quickly as possible with a minimum of questions. Yet, when this happens it is an opportunity lost, as this is a time to get help as you help others learn. One possibility is to encourage those present to help you consider problems that you face, next steps, etc. by saying: “Here is something that I’ve been struggling with. What do you think?” Similarly, it may be encouraging to those who aren’t initiated in the mysteries of your experimental method or instrumentation for you to stop and say: “Would anyone like me to discuss why we are using this experimental approach?” or to those who don’t want to interrupt the flow of the presentation to say: “Are there any questions?” Give the audience some time to respond as it often takes a bit of time to formulate them.
Overall, don’t let the technology or the Group Meeting event get in the way of what needs to happen for both your purposes and the purposes of the Center.
Prepared by: Paul Solomon, Diane Sonnenwald and Reto Bolliger, School of Information and Library Science. [Please contact email@example.com if you have any comments, questions, or further suggestions.]