Event report 2: Making your message stick, with Ned Potter
ARLG NW and CILIP NW offered 2 free student places for our October event, Making your message stick, with Ned Potter. We’re pleased to present write-ups from both students. We published the first yesterday, by Christine Tate. Today is Katie Nicholas’ turn. Katie’s a student at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Prior to this training I had a basic understanding of how to create a PowerPoint but Ned’s training introduced me to so many features I had never made proper use of, including picture formatting options and textbox features. Tips about using minimal space on the slide and the importance of fonts have already been incredibly useful for presentations I am delivering at university and for work.
Ned introduced us to a plethora of great websites where one can source images to create backgrounds without breaching any copyright laws or licenses. The time provided in the session to try each resource and experiment with PowerPoint meant I could ask questions whilst using the new tools. This meant I felt more equipped to use them on my own after the session. The training also gave advice on using these techniques in real-world situations such as working with organisational templates and branding.
The training offered advice on lowering the risk of technical issues by describing the anatomy of a slide and issues with projector alignment – for example not placing vital points near the top or bottom of a slide where they may be lost or obstructed by members of the audience or the projector screen. It is easy to forget about delivering a presentation for real when you are immersed in creating content, making the presentation aesthetically pleasing and remembering what to say so this was a welcome reminder.
The afternoon sessions gave an introduction to Prezi and an overview of presentation and communication skills. I was aware of Prezi but had never used it and was unsure how it worked. Ned effectively used a Prezi to explain the features, pros and cons and most importantly when not to use it. The main message I took away was that Prezi is great for specific kinds of presentations but should be used with caution. Practice is also a necessity! The interactivity and zoom in and out features are fantastic for dipping in and out of material or if you want a more holistic approach as the user sees the whole presentation from the start. Ned advised us to map out our Prezi before adding text and images in the online templates to create more cohesive end results – this was helpful as it is quite a different way of approaching presentations compared to PowerPoint where you can input a structure into slides and amend the visual features later.
By outlining the pitfalls and strengths of Prezi I felt more comfortable experimenting with the templates available and armed with enough knowledge to know when it may be appropriate to use.
The final session gave concise and cohesive advice about planning and preparing any presentation. The importance of researching, structuring and practicing your presentation was highlighted and tips like using the 3:3:3 approach will help organise my ideas in future. Tips on timing information on slides, rehearsing and familiarising yourself with the material and not just memorising will all help me deliver better presentations.
The day has given me lots of resources, tips and real-world advice that I am already venturing to use and has reminded me of the effectiveness and potential of PowerPoint when used in different ways.
Thanks to both Christine and Katie for their thoughts, and to Ned for hosting the workshop.