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Presentations. We've all given them. Whether we like them or not, presentations are a great way to show an understanding of a topic and develop your speaking and listening skills. They are a chance to prove to an audience you know what you are talking about!
One thing to be mindful of is the technology for your presentations. Have you thought much about presentation technology and its evolution over time? This article will explore the importance of technology for a presentation. It will also consider the technology's background and modern uses, along with some examples and types of presentation technology.
You may be wondering, why is technology so important when we do presentations?
The technology you use for presentations allows you to share information with your audience effectively. It's a way to connect with your audience and provide them with interesting information to keep them engaged. Without technology, presentations lose appeal as they are less interactive.
It is essential to be aware that people learn in different ways through various stimuli. For example, some people take in information more effectively when they read it. Others may rely on more visual-based things such as images, diagrams, videos, etc. Still others may simply prefer to listen to you speak. You can use presentation technology to appeal to your audience through text, visuals, sound, and more quickly and easily, allowing the audience to gain a deeper understanding of your presentation topic.
Technology can also help guide you through your topic. For example, if you have some words or images on a slide, this can help you remember what to talk about and keeps your presentation flowing smoothly.
What did the world of presentations look like before internet software? Before the creation of well-known software such as PowerPoint, there were different ways to make a presentation. These methods took more time and involved more than simply creating slides on a laptop!
One of the first ways to present was through the use of chalkboards, whiteboards, and paper flip charts, like the one shown below:
Although they may not be considered technology, using boards and flipcharts was still a way for people to present extra information to the audience. They could write or draw pictures/graphs to visually aid the presentation and help to get their intentions across to the audience more clearly. Paper flip charts, chalkboards, and whiteboards may still be used occasionally, but there is less need for them now that everything has been digitalized!
The slide projector was one of the first pieces of technology used for presentations. A slide projector is a machine that shows photographic slides. It does this by shining a light through a photograph made into a slide, which creates a bigger image on a screen. Also used was the carousel slide projector, a type of slide projector that stores slides in a rotary tray and creates a slideshow by projecting slide photographs.
The use of slide projectors was then upgraded to the use of overhead projectors, something more familiar to people today. This is a machine that is used to make writing or images on a sheet appear on a wall or screen, like the one shown below:
Before easy digital presentation production, this was an excellent way to relay information to students. Teachers could present a "transparency," as it was called, of a worksheet and use dry-erase markers to fill out the sheet along with students.
In modern society, presentation technology is much more prevalent and accessible due to the internet and social media. Not only do we have instant access to information, but we also have many ways to share it with others. Modern presentation technology allows us to present information quickly and efficiently - unlike many years ago when presenting took more time and effort! Most presentations nowadays are created using digital presentation software. The first of this modern software was PowerPoint.
The first official version of PowerPoint was released by Microsoft in 1990. It is the most commonly used presentation software, with around 500 million users worldwide. So why is PowerPoint so appealing? Here are a few reasons:
Although PowerPoint is commonly used, it does not appeal to everyone! Some alternatives include:
Presentations can have different purposes, depending on the type you want to give. It is important to consider the purpose of your presentation, as this will determine how you present your information to the audience. There are four main types of presentations.
The purpose of an informative presentation is to give the audience information. This type of presentation relies on facts and stats. It is vital that you research well; try not to include inaccurate or unreliable information.
The purpose of an instructional presentation is to give the audience instructions. This type of presentation focuses on guiding the audience and showing them how to do something. It can be useful to provide clear images and diagrams or step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow.
The purpose of an arousing presentation is to generate intrigue amongst the audience and appeal to their emotions. This type of presentation usually focuses more on current events, such as societal/political issues.
The purpose of a persuasive presentation is to convince your audience of a particular point of view. This presentation should have a clear argument and allow you to express your opinion. Try not to be too biased; consider the perspectives of others too.
Information can be presented to an audience via technology in a variety of different ways. Because of this, there are different types of presentation slides to consider when making a presentation.
The three main types of presentation slides are text, visual, and mixed.
Text slides involve words/texts, such as extracts or quotes.
What NOT to do:
Be careful not to cram too much information onto one slide! Presentation slides should be clear and easy to follow. If too much is on one slide, it could be distracting, or the audience may not be able to take everything in.
Space out the information so it is easier to comprehend. One way to do this is to use bullet points and summarize the key points instead of writing out larger paragraphs of text. For example:
Visual slides involve images/diagrams or videos. This also includes photos, illustrations, graphs, charts, etc.
What NOT to do:
Include too many images on a slide, making it look cluttered and distracting the audience.
Including around 1 - 2 images/diagrams is preferable as this will give the audience a focal point and maintain their interest. It may be as simple as this:
Mixed slides use both words and visuals together. For example, you can use captions, labels, or small text boxes to explain an image or add the extra necessary information (such as keywords or ideas).
You may be wondering, what are some examples of a good digital presentation? How can you differentiate between a good and a bad presentation?
Here are a few examples of what makes a good digital presentation:
Keep the slides simple! Make sure not to include too much information, as this could be confusing. Instead, stick to key points and summaries. You can always expand on these points as you talk; just use the presentation as a reminder of what you will discuss!
Make sure your slides aren't too dull for the audience! A presentation is a great way to catch the audience's attention and keep their interest. You could experiment with design templates to make your slides look more visually attractive, but make sure you stick to a consistent color scheme and style. Too many different styles could make the presentation look messy.
If you include too many slides, this could make the audience lose interest. On the other hand, if you don't include enough slides, your presentation will lack substance, and you may run out of things to talk about. A good rule of thumb is to include approximately one slide for every minute you plan to speak to keep the information moving. For example, a 20-minute presentation would have around 15-20 slides.
It is important to be aware that the topic of a presentation will influence how you will use the technology to get your message across.
If you were to present the number of native vs. non-native English speakers, you would create more statistic-based visuals. This could include creating charts or graphs to help the audience visualize the numbers.
If you were to do a presentation about phonetics and the place/manner of articulation, using images to show the parts of the mouth and how we use different parts to pronounce different letters would be beneficial.
If you were to do a presentation about a particular novel, include some quotes or extracts to make it clear to the audience what you are referring to and highlight the novel's main themes.
A technology-based presentation refers to a presentation that relies on technology to get the message across to the audience.
The 4 main types of presentation are:
Technology can keep the audience engaged in a presentation and focused on your topic. It can be a visual aid to help guide your speech and send a clear message to the audience.
Technology helps to make information more accessible and easy to digest. Now that everything is becoming digitalized, technology allows people to instantly have access to a wide variety of information that we can all learn from.
Technology that can be used for a presentation includes:
Fill in the blanks:
One of the first ways to present was through the use of paper ____ ______.
Fill in the blank:
One of the first pieces of technology used for presentations was the slide _________.
PowerPoint was released by which software company?
PowerPoint was officially released in which year?
Which of the following is not an example of presentation technology?
What are the three main types of presentation slides?
Text, visual and mixed
Name one way you can space out information on a slide to make it easier to comprehend
Use bullet points
Without presentation technology, presentations will probably be ____ interesting for the audience.
What is the most commonly used presentation software?
True or false?
Presentation slides can include a mixture of textual and visual elements.
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