Like chess, PowerPoint is easy to learn, but difficult to master. Today's tutorials cover both the technical side of creating slides, and the presentation skills needed to give a really good PowerPoint talk.
"The Ribbon is the completely new user interface in PowerPoint 2007, designed to make it easier and faster to create fantastic presentations." Follow along with cartoon hosts Jim Jingle and Sue Special as they guide you through this move-at-your-own-pace slideshow. This eight-unit PowerPoint 2007 tutorial includes a Teachers Guide and a printable version. If you have PowerPoint 2003, there's a tutorial for you also.
Garr Reynolds is a presentation guru, and his tips address presentation skills and what to put on your slides, not how to make them. Reynolds stresses the importance of setting goals for your talk, knowing your audience, and keeping your slides simple. He argues against the commonly circulated "7 bullets per page and 7 words per line" rule, and suggests that you plan your talk on paper or a whiteboard before opening up your computer. "Simple can be hard for the presenter, but it will be appreciated by the audience. Simplicity takes more forethought and planning on your part because you have to think very hard about what to include and what can be left out."
The online training site Lynda.com does an amazing job with videos for hundreds of software products. But they only offer the beginner videos for free, the more advanced ones require a paid membership. Even so, the quality of the videos earns them a place in my weekly picks. For PowerPoint 2007, the first eleven videos (a total of thirty-eight minutes of training) are free. You'll notice that the free videos have underlined titles, while the rest of the course segments are listed, but when you click them, you reach a sign-up page. To find the PowerPoint 2003 course, use the site search function.
Anyone here not love the Dummies books? Turns out, their website is just as awesome as their books. In addition to PowerPoint basics, these tutorials cover advanced topics such as creating motion paths for animation, and modifying the slide master. Some of the tutorials are video, although most are simply pages illustrated with lots of screenshots. In addition to the individual tutorials, there is a PowerPoint glossary that defines terms from "action button" to "x-axis."
No PowerPoint training session would be complete without some discussion of how to avoid common presentation no-nos. Seth Godin, in his typical in-your-face communication style, advises us to use emotion and make slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them. "Think of all the presentations you've been to where the presenter actually reads the slides. Did your audience really have to come all this way to a meeting to listen to you read the slides? Why not just send them over?"