Max Atkinson’s comments and advice about the use of Powerpoint

Max Atkinson (2004) ‘Lend me Your Ears’

‘The slide-driven presentation that has become the industry standard model has resulted in a style of presentation that does little to inspire or enthuse audiences. The problem is at its worst when the slides consist of nothing but text or table of numbers. Such heavy reliance on written words and numbers almost guarantees that the presentation will contain far too much information, and be presented in a form of language that is likely to be dull and boring. It also means that the audience’s attention will be divided between trying to listen and read at the same time.“Audiences like to be shown things that help them to understand what the speaker is talking about, so the visual aids most likely to attract positive ratings are ones that are genuinely visual or pictorial, rather than textual or numerical. Visual aids that go down well with audiences:

· Objects, props and demonstrations

· Pictures, ivideo clips [and almost any other graphical item such as maps, charts and charts]

  • Non-visual exceptions

· Blank slides i.e. black background [audience switches focus to what is being said]

· Using handouts during a talk”


About nickzsc

I'm a civil engineer and a lecturer in the Department of Real Estate and Construction at Oxford Brookes. Amongst others I have interests in problem-based learning (PBL) and improving the learning experience through the use of various technologies including 'Virtual Learning Enviroments', wikis and blogs. To be continued
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