Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Breaking Away from Powerpoint

At BitesizedBio, Vicki Doronina writes:
Powerpoint, and it’s free relatives, is that it limits your presentation style and makes your over-reliant on visual aids.
So what about taking it further and breaking away from the linear, prescribed talks that Powerpoint and the free alternatives tend to facilitate? This can be useful as it stops you from getting into a rut and helps you to explore other ways in which you can talk about your results that might be more engaging for your audience.
The best software for this that I have seen is Prezi. This is a free online software that allows you to organise your presentations in a non-linear fashion. Some people compare its organisation with poster, where you can see the whole picture at the same time and zoom into different parts. The site itself says that “a Prezi” can be a visual metaphor for the process and/or structure of your idea.
I haven't used Prezi, as it still doesn't free people from the tendency to pack a presentation full of data.  It would work extremely well for something like the Death and Taxes Poster for 2014 if you want to walk through the US Budget.  Nevertheless, someday I'll give Prezi a try.

One suggestion that I've started making is to escape from the "One Minute, One Slide" rule of thumb, which I've found generally doesn't work for most scientific presentations, unless you present data bit by bit.  Two to three minutes per slide gives you enough time to get your message through to your audience, which is what you want to do in the first place, right?