The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Voxmasters Recap: PowerPoint Presentations and Visual Persuasion

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As part of MLDP, we encourage student participants to attend other Rockefeller Center programs in order to enrich their Dartmouth experience. Read two student accounts of a Rockefeller Center program, and for more information about MLDP, click here.

This session of VoxMaster focused on designing and delivering effective Powerpoint presentations. Student discussion group leaders Shoshanna Silverstein ’15 and Sarah Ogren ’16 began the session by explaining the “do’s” and “don’ts” of successful Powerpoint slides. I learned that slides should summarize important points succinctly, use graphics to highlight essential ideas, and avoid excessive use of animation. When delivering a presentation, it is important to avoid blocking the projector, fidgeting, or simply reading off the slides. This part of the session underscored ideas discussed previously in the “Presentation Design for the User Experience” session of the Management and Leadership Development Program, such as the importance of catering a presentation to one’s specific audience.

In the latter half of the session, each participant created one to two Powerpoint slides implementing the ideas just discussed. Several participants then delivered their presentations and received feedback from the group. Topics of the presentations ranged from the classification of vehicles to the impact on Dartmouth freshmen of the policy barring them from entering Greek houses before homecoming. While I did not present my own slides to the group, I felt that watching and analyzing my fellow participants’ presentations helped me to consider my own strengths and challenges in similar situations. Overall, I found the VoxMasters session helpful in allowing me to practice creating effective Powerpoint slides and in reinforcing significant points from MLDP.

--Marie Plecha ’16, MLDP Participant Fall 2013

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On October 30th, I attended a VoxMasters session on PowerPoint presentations and how to use them effectively in your public speeches. One of the most important points during this session was that “PowerPoint presentations should be made with the target audience in mind, and should flesh out the essential takeaways you want your audience to have.” The best part of this session was the way it changed our thinking of PowerPoint presentations which will help us in the future when we are in a situation where we have to present something to a group of people in a short amount of time.

During this session, we were given time to make our own slides and we were given advice on how to improve them. One of the things I learned was that it is very important to make your slides very visually appealing because it helps people retain information better than just having your entire presentation written out on the slides. Some people got to present their slides and we were given some practical advice such as standing on the side of the projector screen so that you are not blocking the view of others, and avoid pointing to the screen as much as possible. I think this VoxMasters session was very practical because even though many people know how to create PowerPoint slides, not many realize the huge amount of things you can do in order to help your audience understand the main points of your speech, and that was the most important takeaway of this session.

--Latrell Williams ’16, MLDP Participant Fall 2013

For more information, about MLDP, click here.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences