What kind of slideshow presentations do you like?

genre-recognition-venn-diagram-greene
Screenshot of one of my slides with a Venn diagram

I have seen and read various commentaries about slideshow presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, watchamacallit…). Some people can’t get enough and some people can’t get too little. In the feedback I’ve gotten on the interpreting workshops I present, I’ve gotten everything from:

Loved how daniel validated participants questions and comments by responding to individuals. He used examples from a variety of settings which was helpful. Powerpoint was great.

to:

It was not a particularly involved workshop (last year it seemed there was more participation) and was very powerpoint heavy. I could have skipped and snagged a copy of the P.P.T. notes. =(

Now, I know “there’s always someone” (you can’t please everyone), and most of my participants rate my presentations highly on “Audiovisual and supplementary study materials were an asset to this activity,” but I take all feedback into account. Recently I previewed a PowerPoint presentation to prep for an interpreting assignment, and it got me to thinking about how much or how little a slideshow presentation can tell you about an actual presentation— and how much it should.

Most of the people I present to want me to give them handouts of my presentation, and when I change my presentations at the last minute to include things that aren’t on the handouts—or I offer to send a list of references (works cited)—most people give me their email addresses so I can send them the latest and fullest. But the idea that someone could “snag a copy of the P.P.T. notes” and perceive that they got the workshop is not a pleasing one. My presentation is much more dynamic than my slideshow, and the participation makes it even more so.

But, if someone thinks it’s all in the handouts, does that mean I’m putting too much of my presentation on the slideshow? I know there will always be people who think if they’ve seen the photos, they don’t have to go to the country; if they’re heard the album, they don’t have to go to the concert; if they’ve read the book, they don’t have to go see the author speak. And I think they’re wrong! I also know from feedback I’ve gotten that most people would be frustrated if the slideshow didn’t help them follow and take notes on the lecture. Yet… I wonder if I should pare down my slideshow.

What do you think? Should a slideshow be skeletal or fleshy? How do you perceive a workshop vis-à-vis the handouts? I would love to hear your comments.

Author: Daniel Greene

I facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing people, and I teach people American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreting. Apart from doing the work I love, my greatest joys are family & friends, entertainment, food, photography, and travel.

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