CDR DENNIS HUFFORD, MC, USN
CDR JOHN HOLMAN, MC, USN
Faculty Development Fellowship
Madigan Army Medical Center
Presented at the USAFP XXIV Scientific Assembly
03 March 1998
(This outline accompanied a highly animated and interactive presentation which did not readily convert to a web page format. A software download required to view animated HTML PowerPoint‚ slides may have caused excessive delays for the reader, so the slides are not included. If you wish to receive a copy of the slide show, contact the authors at the e-mail addresses below)
(Edited for web page 18 July 1999)
I. The Foundation (upon which any presentation is built):
What is your message?
What do you want them to remember?
Who are you speaking to?
Why are they there?
What do they need to understand?
Are they familiar with the topic?
Why are you speaking to this group at this time?
How large an audience will you be addressing?
How large is the room?
What audiovisual support will you have (or need)?
How much time are you allotted?
II. Organizing Your Presentation:
-a question, a survey, a joke (only if youíre good at that!), an anecdote, a provocative statement, etc.
2. Establish a Theme- What is your message?
3. Establish your themeís relevance to audience.
4. State your qualifications to speak on the subject (succinctly).
5. Set your ground rules, such as: When to entertain questions?
1. Limit most presentations to Three to Five Main Points.
-Each must address the main theme in some way.
-For research presentations, these are often your methods, findings or data, problems, and discussion.
2. Differentiate your points from conventional or established knowledge.
-How does this information support your theme?
1. What does it all mean?
2. Reiterate relevance to your audience. How should it apply to your learners?
3. Bring it back to your theme. Drive home your message.
4. Call to action- what should your learners do with this new knowledge?
5. Answer questions.
III. Visual Aids:
-An excellent medium for large group presentations
-Versatile image medium (for pictures, graphics, graphs, etc.)
-Requires low-tech projector (slides might be expensive, projector isnít!)
-currently more universally acceptable, but this may change soon
-Light weight and portable (compared to other low-tech media)
-"Technical difficulties" (bulbs burn out, remote controls fail, slides jam)
-Substantial skill needed to create and use them effectively
-Often requires lots of lead-time for slide production
-hard to make late changes
-Conventional slides are static (canít animate)
-Mark your slides for foolproof placement in carousel, upside-down and backwards!
-Plan for 1-2 slides per minute on average.
-Not more than 7 lines of print per slide
-Every slide should have a clear point, applying to your theme. If not, ask yourself: "Is this slide necessary"?
-Use conventional fonts (such as Times New Roman, Courier)
-Reason: Newspapers use them because they are easiest to read!
-Use large type (font size) 24-32 point is optimal
-Use bullets preferentially, rather than narrative style
-Bold characters whenever possible
-Select dark backgrounds for dark rooms (blue/black is "easiest on eyes")
-Use white, yellow, or other light, bright font color on dark backgrounds
-Edit graphs, images such that numbers and details can be seen, and superfluous details are eliminated
-"Fancy" and "Whiz-Bang" often translate into "Unreadable"!
-Remember, the whole point is "Enable your learner to read and understand your slide quickly and easily".
-Enhanced versatility and flexibility vs. conventional 35 mm slides
-Quick to produce and edit
-Allows for animation and sound effects if desired
-Readily accepts text and images from various digital sources incl. Internet
-Interfaces with word processing, spreadsheet and database software
-Easy to transport and transmit slide files (disc and Internet)
-Expensive support hardware (projectors and computers)
-Requires at least elementary computer competency
-Tempting to overuse adjunctive features (animation, etc.)
-Risk of software compatibility problems, other "technical difficulties"
-All rules described above governing slide colors, fonts, lines, etc apply.
-Beware of tendencies to overuse animation and sound effects!
o Occasional use OK (for intro and transitions, for instance)
o Do NOT make every slide move, dance, or make sounds!
o Animation, etc. must enhance message, not distract from it.
-Keep most slides consistent in color, font, etc.
-Keep print near center (away from edges) of slide
o Some projectors cut off edges/top/bottom of slides
-Beware of pattern backgrounds, may be hard to see print
-Consider shading backgrounds dark to black
-Fuzzy or complex backgrounds can be tiring and distracting, and are
probably best avoided in long presentations.
-Avoid stale clip art (that everyone has seen a hundred times already!)
-Judiciously use images to enhance points and message.
-Images must be clear and large enough to see.
-ALWAYS back up your files.
-Strongly consider a conventional slide show backup.
-Load your disc file onto computer hard drive beforehand. Avoid working directly off disc if possible
-Learn idiosyncrasies of projector/computer youíll be using before your presentation.
-"Play" with the software, learn how to alter print, fonts, backgrounds, colors, etc. (Itís easy to teach yourself )
-Rehearse using the slides and projector.-Remember, slides should support, not distract, from your message!
-Excellent for small to medium size groups/ discussions
-Easy to move back and forth between transparencies
-Low tech projector, usually accommodated in any venue
-Transparencies fit in briefcase
-Fewer "technical difficulties" (as long as the bulb doesnít burn out!)
-Software has made these much easier to produce and more professional in appearance than in the past
-Can annotate transparency (with marker) during presentation
-Requires less production lead time than conventional 35 mm slides
-Must stay close to projector or have accomplice change transparencies
-Must physically orient each transparency to project correctly
-Relatively expensive to produce per transparency, not necessarily per presentation, because youíll use fewer transparencies than slides
-Not advantageous for displaying large amounts of data
-Plan not more than one transparency every 3-5 minutes, optimum 6-10 per hour.
-Put much less detailed information on transparency as compared to slide
-Use bigger font sizes, 28 point or higher
-Use bullets, instead of narrative formats
-Lighter backgrounds usually project better with overheads
-Use dark font colors on light backgrounds
-Use transparency frames, which provide stiffness, eliminate sticking
-Practice orienting frames on projector
-Large groups can hear you
-Can be more interactive with large groups
-Allows more animated vocal presentation
-Stage fright, comfort and experience problems
-Feedback and other "technical difficulties"
-Find out what type of mike will be available
-Remote, clip-on mikes allow more flexibility but at greater risk for "technical difficulties"
-Check all batteries well in advance (consider having two "AA" spares in your pocket in case the belt-clip transmitter fails)
-Practice with your mike
-Low cost, low tech
-Some additional flexibility in highly interactive presentations
-Great for small groups
-A "lost art" (maybe for good reasons?)
-If board or chart is behind you; you must turn your back on the audience to use it.
-Very difficult to use with large groups (they canít see it)
-Charts are unwieldy to transport.
-Penmanship becomes an issue.
-Use dark colors (blue, black, brown, or purple) for dry-erase boards,
others are hard to see.
-Donít talk to the board!
-Have at least one spare marker for every 30 minutes of talk.
-May be a handy reference during and/or after presentation
-May help audience remember you as well as your message
-Allows greater level of detail than any projected media
-Low tech required to produce
-Requires time and effort to do them well
-Considerable risk of audience reading handout instead of listening to you!
-Can be costly to produce (for large audiences, especially)
-Do NOT simply copy your slides!!! (remember: slides and handouts serve different purposes)
-hard to read during, and virtually worthless as a reference after your presentation.
-Consider disseminating after your presentation (so they listen to you)
-Produce in outline/bullet format
-Provide references, possibly with annotations
-Consider including a way of contacting you for questions, etc.
-Useful adjunct to emphasize a point on a projected image or chart
-Handy, portable, and (with laser pointers) highly visible
-Allows means to add some animation to your presentation
-Laser pointers will exaggerate any tremor, nervous or otherwise!
-Prone to misuse and overuse
-Think of a laser pointer as a firearm:
o Aim it with 2 hands or with a hand steadied against a podium
o Donít aim it at people!
-Turn it on, make your "point", and quickly turn it off.
o Avoid rambling around slide w/ pointer
-Check your batteries beforehand.
IV. Fundamentals of Effective Speaking
-Thorough rehearsal lessens these.
-"Pregnant pauses" are preferred by the audience (at least, are less noticeable).
-Take a second to gather your thoughts, then speak, instead of filling the gap with an "um", etc.
-Are you prone to slouch, hide behind or lean against the podium?
-Stand erect, keep shoulders back and chin up.
-Large audiences need larger gestures than would otherwise be natural.
-Modestly exaggerate hand, head and body movements that emphasize a point.
-Pick a targets in various sections of the audience and talk to them.
-Avoid looking constantly at your notes, or at your slides!
-Beware of tapping fingers, jingling keys (or anything else in your pockets!), scratching any body part, tugging on your sleeve or tie, etc.
The best way to detect and overcome nonverbal problems is to rehearse on camera or in front of a practice audience. This is virtually essential for the new speaker, and a good idea even for veteran speakers.
-Enough to manage (detect and correct) all flaws in delivery, slides, and use of
-General recommendations for formal presentations vary, from 10 minutes to one hour for every minute of your presentation. (example: a one-hour talk should require at least 10 hours of rehearsal! Even then, youíve rehearsed <10 times)
-Most "bad" presentations are a result of inadequate rehearsal.
Public Speaking Reviews and Overviews:
1. Irby, DM. Preparation and Delivery of Effective Presentations. University of Washington Faculty Development Workshop, given 23-4 October 1996.
Professor Irby is well known in medical education circles nationally, and a synopsis of his thoughtful and well-researched advice is available through the Madigan FP Faculty Development website
2. Renfrow, D and Impara, JC. Making Academic
Presentations-Effectively. Educational Researcher: 19(3) (March),
Slightly dated but still excellent treatment of the subject, with practical slide tips geared for research presentations.
3. Stuart, Christina. How to Be an Effective
Speaker. Lincolnwood IL: NTC Business Books, 1989.
Concise and easily read paperback text covering nearly all topics discussed today, except PowerPoint™.
1. Mann, D. Guidelines for Creating Effective Slides and Overhead Transparencies
Used for Teaching. JAOA 1992:99(12), pp. 1526-8.
Another concise, practical reference.
2. Miser FW. Dynamic
Lectures: Creating Effective Handouts. Madigan Army Medical Center Fall Faculty
Development Workshop, Sep 1996.
Detailed outline for creating effective handout materials. Available by e-mail request through the Madigan FP Faculty Development web site listed below.
For more information, or help with your next presentation, contact us at the Madigan Army Medical Center, Family Practice Faculty Development Fellowship website:
Or, via E-mail: