5 Tips for an Amazing PowerPoint Presentation

What’s black and white and (I’ll misspell this next word in an attempt to avoid ruining the joke) rhed all over? Well, it can’t be a newspaper.  The ones that haven’t gone out of business are read online in full color with tons of endearing pop-up ads trying to convince me that, regardless of the fact I am still in high school, I should click on them and find out just how long it would take for me to get a plumber’s degree (although it is always good to have a plan B in life).

And a zebra with chicken pox can be ruled out.  After all, everyone knows the disease comes from a chicken, and any chicken stupid enough to be out, unsupervised, in the middle of the African Savannah would be gobbled up in an instant by a lion.  The lion would probably get the disease, but until the zebra population grows desperate, I find it unlikely the zebra eats the lion.  However, they may already be pretty desperate; last thing I heard was that McDonalds was going to open up an African chain called McDabajoniruba (with a never-before-seen McRhino special for $4.99), so good food must be getting hard to find.

Since neither classic answer fits the punch line, the question still stands.  What holds these characteristics?  I’ll tell you.  The answer is: the worst ever PowerPoint color scheme (on my version, at least, but since I’ve stayed up to date and use PowerPoint 2004, Microsoft may have already listened to my series of flame e-mails I sent them about this).  It’s called the “refined” theme, probably because it is what occurs when you take an oil spill that was headed to a refinery (and add the redness of the company CEO’s face when he hears the news combined with the whiteness of the numerous documents explaining why a spill will never, ever happen again).A powerpoint theme

But I’m not here to rant about just one theme of PowerPoint.  I should remind myself that I shouldn’t be here to rant, period (or, at least, rant without entertaining you readers).  No, I’m here to address the big idea, the umbrella concept, the underlying themes of PowerPoint (if I missed any overused teacher phrases, let me know).

You see, projectors are still widely used in priso-ahem, schools.  Therefore, it is only logical that, when a group of students is asked to create a presentation, an accompanying PowerPoint is included.  However, students are usually too preoccupied with various procrastination methods to give much thought to the presentation, so I’ve done the thinking for everyone here.

My first tip: don’t read.  If you fill your Powerpoint with words and then read those words, you are insulting the audience.  You are sending the message that the audience is too stupid to read the board, so you will do it for them.  Just because this is true in most high school classrooms doesn’t mean it isn’t rude (I’m using what I’ve heard here.  I’m of the opinion the truth should always be told, and no, it isn’t rude to tell somebody that they look like a dog suffering from mad cow disease as long as it is true-but then you run into that whole issue of cross-species diseases mentioned above).  If I want to try to understand what ‘the’ means in my head, while you talk, please don’t rob me of that opportunity.Reading a ppt

Secondly, don’t use a gradient background (the one where one color blends into another with a region in between, similarly to the way the frosting on a cake does.  Mysteriously, though, this only happens to the words, so you’ll get a beautiful frilly border and corners with text saying something unreadable.  This sends the message that even birthday cakes cannot afford to properly display signs, for we already knew that lighted signs are a thing of the past.  Now we’ve got Of-ice –ax and Co–co and such).  Gradient Backgrounds are simply so 2000’s.  This is the 2010’s.  Pick an accordingly futuristic looking background.  If it blocks the readability of the text, all the better.  That gives the audience an excuse not to pay attention, lowering their guilt level, while preventing you from reading the PowerPoint.Powerpoint background image

Use slide transitions.  Otherwise no one will notice when your slide changes, because I, like most people, have perfected the technique of appearing to be attentive while daydreaming.  Without a transition to snap me out of my own world, I’ll just keep on pretending to be attentive.Why you need transitions

Use images, even if they are not relevant.  Images give the audience something to look at instead of the presenter or words, which both force the brain to do more work than an image does.  I wouldn’t care if you were telling me about the traits of imperialism and put up a picture showing a cute young cat or dog tearing up somebody’s belongings (not sure why people find that cute), because I’d have something to look at.A powerpoint with an image

If you can afford it, use celebrities.  If you can pay a celebrity to do your presentation for you, I will definitely listen.  Just make sure the celebrity you choose has a clean record for the past month (a year is asking too much) so they are allowed at school.  I can’t afford it, so I could not illustrate this tip with a picture.

There are many other pieces of advice I could give, but then I would have given away all of my trade secrets.  So, for those who would like to go above and beyond, you should feel free to add to this list using your own ideas.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go see if Charlie Sheen is available to help me with my presentation on the many uses of the wheel.

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