Power Tools for Technical Communication:
Using Presentation Software for Oral Presentations

In this lab, you select any of the reports listed below that were originally developed for print or online presentation and convert it to an electronic presentation using presentation software (such as Lotus Freelance Graphics or Microsoft Powerpoint). See Chapter 16 of Power Tools for Technical Communication for an introduction to presentation software.
  • Select one of the reports below, or use one of your own reports.

  • Develop a slide (computer screen) for each major segment of the report.

  • Start with a slide showing the title of the report, your name and other such introductory information.

  • Create an overview or contents slide that lists what the report of the report will cover.

  • For each segment of the report, convert the text to a bulleted or numbered, a table (for example, a two-column table for key terms and definitions), or other format. Keep straight-text paragraph to a minimum.

  • As opposed to copying straight-paragraph text onto slides, summarize that material—reduce it to short phrases or clauses.

  • Don't crowd too much information on any individual slide.

  • Use a heading at the top of each slide to identify the content and purpose of that slide.

  • Consider using a divider slide to signal the start of each new section.

  • Use a large enough type size so that viewers at the back of the room can read your slides.

  • Avoid strange combinations of color (such as red and blue) and light-colored text on dark-colored backgrounds.

  • Use a limited set of colors and fonts in a consistent way throughout the presentation. For example, use the same font and color for all headings.

  • Rehearse the oral report using the electronic presentation you create. Use the same style of oral-report presentation that you would use without the electronic presentation materials. Refer to the slides regularly; but don't read from them directly.

  • Make sure your name is on the introductory slide, use your name in the file name for your electronic presentation (for example, joan_smith.ppt), and put it on a disk that you give to your instructor.

Oral-report scripts:

Print reports:

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