I’ve reached the halfway point for 23 Research Things with today’s material on presenting and sharing work. This covered both techniques for creating interesting and well-designed slide shows, and resources for sharing those shows so that they reach beyond their original audience.
Participants in the programme were encouraged to try out Slideshare, a resource in which users can upload presentations so that they are viewable to others. However, when I attempted to register with this tool, the options appeared limited to either signing in with a preexisting Linkedin account (I do not use Linkedin and do not want to), or creating some kind of official account as a representative of a university and other institution. Although I work for a university, at present I’m doing the 23 Research Things programme in my capacity as an individual for reasons of professional development, and as such feel it would be inaccurate to create an ‘institutional’ account on Slideshare for this purpose. Stuck between a Linkedin rock and a hard place, I opted to use an alternative platform to share my presentation, and created a show on Google Slides.
The presentation I’ve put together is somewhat simplistic, and I’m not altogether happy with the design, size of images, and interaction with text and images. I’m limited a bit in terms of time I’m able to devote to this task and the images I have easily to hand, but I would still welcome suggestions about ways to improve what I’ve done.
Reflecting on the elements that make up a good presentation made me realise it’s much easier to recognise and define a poor presentation than vice versa. I’m sure everyone can remember terrible presentations they’ve been forced to sit through (featuring blocks of illegible text, cheesy graphics and typeface, images that overwhelm or sit awkwardly next to the accompanying text, or overly long embedded videos), but good presentations are more elusive. One that’s stuck with me is that put together by some colleagues as part of last year’s Research Ambassador programme. What made it so memorable was its effective use of really striking images, which were laid out well, and married perfectly with the accompanying text so that the whole thing seemed like one coherent, seamless unit. Too often, images are thrown in carelessly without much thought about how they fit with the presentation’s content, simply because the presenter feels that they need some images to break the monotony of the text (I suspect I’m guilty of that in my above presentation!). This was one of the few times I can remember when a presentation feel like a well-thought out, coherent whole. The effect was almost beautiful.