Tag Archives: presentation

Limited Design: Using Only Fonts and Icons

Here’s an example of a presentation I gave last Fall to colleagues within my library, updating them on various service and resource policy changes in effect for the semester. In place of images, I used various font sizes, colors and placements to add some visual interest to the primarily textual content I needed to present.

Feel free to adopt any of these techniques for your own presentations. One caveat – if you will be presenting on an unfamiliar computer, it is best to save your presentation as a PDF file. Fonts are not universal from computer to computer–exporting the presentation as a PDF preserves the original fonts. Adobe Acrobat also includes basic presentation show settings and controls and works great in most any presentation situation. Another advantage is that nearly all computers have some program that can view and display PDF files.



Updated Presentation Basics Worksheet!

Sometimes, I think we go wrong with our presentations because we don’t take just a few minutes to jot down the basic details and think through what our “goals” for the audience might be.

If you know your key points at the start of your preparation process, then you can use those to help you stay focused from script writing to slide design to the Q&A at the end of your talk.

Take a look at the Presentation Basics worksheet. You can type in your information on the form itself, or print a copy to write on. Feel free to share it if you find it useful, and I’d like to hear your feedback on it.

Peace and Good Presentations!


Archive of March 16th webinar

The recording of my March 16th webinar for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/South Central Region (a.k.a. NNLM/SCR) is available here:


Thanks to my colleagues at the RML for inviting me to speak!


From the Research Files, January 2010

Happy 2010, everyone!

I thought we’d start 2010 with a look at some articles I’ve read recently. Here’s the first one!

Gross, Alan G. and Joseph E. Harmon. 2009. “The Structure of PowerPoint Presentations: The Art of Grasping Things Whole.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 52(2): 121-137. DOI: 10.1109/TPC.2009.2020889.

Gross and Harmon examine two presentations through Jean-Luc Doumont’s design guidelines (1) to explore their organizational structures¬†and their effectiveness. One presentation is for a general audience, and it employs a “narrative” structure; the other is for a professional audience and it employs an “argument” structure, “…driven by the need for professionals to make and to support claims of new knowledge” (p. 121). Both presentations discuss the volcanic activity around Mount St. Helens in Washington state.

Take-Away Points:

  • A reminder to AVOID text-filled slides:¬†“The audience is placed between the rock of listening to the presenter and the hard place of deciphering the slide. This puts the communicative burden on the audience, rather than on the presenter” (p. 123).
  • Use Doumont’s guidelines:
    • Adapt to your audience: Think about what THEY want/need from your presentation).
    • Maximize signal-to-noise ratio (SNR): Remove unnecessary graphics, text, images, etc. from your presentation.
    • Use effective redundancy: Use an “agenda” or “key points” slide at the beginning and end of your presentation to remind your audience of the main points/structure of your talk.
  • Use a narrative or “story” structure for presentations to general audiences; employ the argument structure (lay out the assertions, describe/present the evidence) for expert audiences.

(1) Doumont, Jean-Luc. 2005. “The cognitive style of PowerPoint: Slides are not all evil.” Technical Communication, 52(1):64-70.

Peace out,