Technical Writing



Oral presentations

Note: this week is about creating oral presentations, not about having to give one.


There are too many readings here to really read them all in detail. Instead, the goal should be to obtain a good overview of their main concepts and why those concepts are important.

Perceptions of Clarity and Attractiveness in PowerPoint Graph Slides

PowerPoint Presentation Technology and the Dynamics
of Teaching

The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

Powerpoint is evil (Tufte article that inspired big debate on PowerPoint)

Creating Marketing Slides for Engineering Presentations

Managing Three Mediation Effects that Influence PowerPoint Deck Authoring

Perceptions of Clarity and Attractiveness in PowerPoint Graph Slides


Answer these questions and email me your answers.
e answers must be in your own words and not a cut&paste from another source.

1. What are the problems with using lots of PowerPoint's bells & whistles (screen fades, sounds, etc) when designing a presentation

2. How do you know when a slide has the proper amount of content?

3. What makes a presentation memorable? How much will people remember and how do you design the presentation to meet that limitation?

Discussion questions


Is Tufte right that PowerPoint is evil? Is the software designed such that it almost ensures a bad presentation? Is it a great example of giving an untrained person a powerful tool is ensuring disaster? So what is the fundamental problem with why PowerPoint is getting a bad rap? People used overheads for many years and they never got the same reputation. How did the move to computer cause such problems?


I'm sure you've all missed a presentation and the person said they'd send you the PowerPoint, which contains everything that was discussed. When you got the PowerPoint slides, you learned nothing. What did the presenter do wrong in creating the presentation and what type of advice would you have give them if you could have reviewed the presentation before it was given?


Relate quad charts to PowerPoint as oral communication methods. (Assume you are using the qual chart as the ONLY slide in a presentation)



In "Visuals for Speaking Presentations" a consistent theme was that presenters acknowledge the importance of audience, but don't bother to research it and don't consciously apply what they do know. It also says they lack real training in how to perform the analysis. From your other coursework, you've should have heard repeatedly how rhetoric is all about understanding the audience. What have you learned in concrete terms about how to understand and design for an audience? (I'm thinking here of going beyond statements like "I'm always concerned that I use words the audience knows." Duh, but how do you know what words the audience knows?). How much of communication failure stems from failing to understand the audience needs? And for that matter, much superficial audience analysis tends to be demographics (ages 25-30, most of college education, etc). How does this fail to connect to and differ from audience needs.


Tell a story. Tip 2 in http://communication.howstuffworks.com/effective-powerpoint-presentations1.htm reading




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