Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Choosing Presentation Media
The media you use will depend on the situation and the media you have available, but remember: You must
maintain control of the media or you will lose the attention of your audience.
The following list highlights the most common media used in a classroom or business conference room,
along with their strengths and weaknesses:
PowerPoint slides and a projection system—
These are the predominant presentation media for
academic and business use. You can use a portable screen and a simple projector hooked up to a
PC, or you can use a full multimedia center. Also, although they are not yet universal in
business, touch-sensitive projection screens (for example, Smartboard
technology) are gaining
popularity in college classrooms. The ability to project and display slides, video and sound clips,
and live Web pages makes the projection system a powerful presentation tool. Negatives:
Depending on the complexity of the equipment, you might have difficulties setting it up and
getting it to work properly. Also, you often must darken the room to use the projector, and it
may be difficult to refer to written notes during your presentation. When using presentation
media, you must be able to access and load your PowerPoint file easily. Make sure your file is
available from at least two sources that the equipment can access, such as a thumb drive, CD,
DVD, or online folder.
You can create handouts of your presentation for the audience, which once was the
norm for many business meetings. Handouts allow the audience to take notes on applicable
slides. If the numbers on a screen are hard to read from the back of the room, your audience
can refer to their handouts. With the growing emergence of
however, unnecessary paper use is being discouraged. Many businesses now require reports
and presentation slides to be posted at a common site where the audience can access them
drive on a business network. Negatives: Giving your audience
reading material may distract their attention from your presentation. They could read your
slides and possibly draw wrong conclusions from them before you have a chance to explain
Transparencies are rarely used anymore in business, but some
academics prefer them, particularly if they have to write numbers, equations, or formulas on a
display large enough for students to see from the back row in a lecture hall. Negatives:
Transparencies require an overhead projector, and frequently their edges are visually distorted due
to the design of the projector lens. You have to use special transparency sheets in a photocopier
to create your slides. For both reasons, it is best to avoid using
Whiteboards are common in both the business conference room and the
classroom. They are useful for posting questions or brainstorming, but you should not use one in
your presentation. Negatives: You have to face away from your audience to use a whiteboard,
and if you are not used to writing on one, it can be difficult to write text that is large enough and
legible. Use whiteboards only to jot down questions or ideas that you will check on after the
presentation is finished.
Flip charts (also known as easel boards) are large pads of paper on a portable stand.
They are used like whiteboards, except that you do not erase your work when the page is full
you flip over to a fresh sheet. Like whiteboards, flip charts are useful for capturing questions or
ideas that you want to research after the presentation is finished. Flip charts have the same
negatives as white boards. Their one advantage is that you can tear off the paper and take it with
you when you leave.
Creating Graphs and Charts
Strictly speaking, charts and graphs are not the same thing, although many graphs are referred to as charts.
Usually charts show relationships and graphs show change. However, Excel makes no distinction, and calls
both entities charts.
Charts are easy to create in Excel. Unfortunately, the process is so easy that people frequently create
graphics that are meaningless or misleading, or that inaccurately reflect the data represented. This section
explains how to select the most appropriate graphics.