Tag Archives: SlideShare

Life by Powerpoint: Why There’s Hope for Researchers Yet!

I love Powerpoint. I really do.

Just think: you’ve lived and breathed a research project for months – maybe even years. You’ve sweated and stressed about your research for all this time, overcome problems you could never have anticipated, and finally gotten to the point where you have something to say about what you’ve been working on for all this time. What could be better than getting an opportunity to tell people about your labour of love and why you think it’s so great?! For me, this truly is the pinnacle of a research project’s life cycle.

Powerpoint is the perfect tool to assist us in sharing the story of our research. I don’t think there are many among us who are skilled, trained presentation experts who can alone maintain the interest of our audience with our sense of humour, confidence, and personality. But, Powerpoint can help us by providing a few visuals to illustrate our message while we talk. I don’t think there is an audience member so highly educated or knowledgeable that they don’t appreciate a few nice pictures to help receive the message while they’re listening to the speaker. Ask yourself the following two questions:

  • How many times have you thought a presentation’s content was too complex?
  • How many times have you thought a presentation’s content was too simple?

If your experience is anything like mine then the answer to the first is ‘yes, too many times’ and to the second ‘no, never’.

Powerpoint is brilliant. It can:

  • structure your presentation
  • help simplify your message
  • give the audience something interesting to look at while they listen
  • help the audience visualise and imagine your research experience
  • help the audience see the real world implications of your research
  • give the audience a reason to remember you and your research (for the right reasons)

I look forward to creating Powerpoint presentations because I enjoy the creative process. I like creating the story, finding the images, designing the slides, playing with colours and fonts, and tinkering with it until it’s just the way I want it. The task is quite different to many of the functional researcher tasks and I appreciate the time I get to spend making something that I (and hopefully, my audience) will like the look of. It’s fun.

I leave my latest presentation below. I hope you like it.

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Conference Presentation – Retrofit 2012

Below are my slides for my presentation at the Retrofit Conference at the University of Salford on 26th January 2012. The presentation is based on a research project I conducted with colleagues at the University around low carbon skills provision.

Designing slides is certainly one aspect of research that brings out my perfectionist side. I subscribe to the view that oral presentations are much more engaging when supported by carefully chosen and relevant images that can tell the story of the research. I can spend many hours looking for the right images and playing around with colour, contrast, and the placing of text and images. I’m quite happy with this one because the images support the story for about two thirds of the presentation; however, at the back end, there is a greater emphasis on the text.

I used to spend a lot of time looking for free images but because it is so time consuming, I now tend to buy them instead. A lot of image stockists require a subscription which can be very expensive. I often buy them from Big Stock Photo now because you can ‘pay-as-you-go’; I also find they stock simple images for concepts such as ‘Green Deal’ which would otherwise be difficult to represent.

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