What Makes a Good Presentation?

Since beginning college I have been given many assignments that require me to “present”. Basically: here is a subject/argument/style of speech- find your group- and make a presentation. I always used PowerPoint. It was all I knew… all most everyone knew those years ago. When I first encountered PowerPoint, I was enamored. Keep in mind that was back in 2000, when I first started learning how to use a computer. I never used the templates, always had to design my own presentation, and like George Lucas with Star Wars, boy did I like those transitions. I loved the option to add sound, and yes, I quite annoyingly overused said option on my first presentation.  Every time a bullet popped up so did a “bang” noise. My teacher was quite shaken, uh I mean taken by the end 🙂 ahh fond memories. Well you get my point right? Don’t overdo it. Or a very simple acronym: KISS Keep It Simple Stupid (not very PC, but easy to remember) article here.

Eventually I learned how to tone it down, and by that time was bored with the limitations of the program.  Even so, I have made many presentations over the years in PowerPoint. I liked using it because it was easy and easy to impress my professors (NOT related to my major) with them. One even used my “Sushi” PowerPoint as an example of how to make a presentation. Today I would be embarassed to share it.

Now the playing field for presentations is more vast, and the more we have made the more we have learned how to properly design a presentation to be entertaining and retainable. Here are some ideas of what to think about when making a presentation for class.

  • Do not use bulleted lists. They can make you feel forced to oversimplify the information presented and infer hierarchy of knowledge which may have ill effects on how important the reader may think a point to be.
  • Do not be too wordy. If need be, have a presentation style that can refer back to the original point.

So, don’t do what I just did 🙂


Keep graphics simple, and to elaborate on a point. Maybe to indicate a transition to a new part of the presentation.

Please no low res graphics. They are just plain ugly and hard to read.

Be sure and credit any graphic to it’s original source.

And if you are to use a graph, please have it comprehensive or you have wasted your time.

Well I haven’t covered all points but this should get you started. Also try Prezi.com. I like the almost animatic style and flat page format instead of the dreaded “stacks” of slides in PowerPoint.


Color can be used to signify a change in the presentation from one part to the other and to emphasize a word or phrase as well as format and unify.


Font style, size, and color are good for emphasizing or de-emphasizing a point.

With all this in mind I am going to  present two presentations. One I think is more well designed than the other, can you tell me which one and why?

Number One

Number 2 (click below for the .pdf)



About submarinequeen

An Arts and Technology major and an aspiring sculptor blogging to support my hopefully future career and share my experiences
This entry was posted in Writing and Research for New Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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