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PowerPoint Progress

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PowerPoint Progress

[ Edited ]

My experiences with PowerPoint for a presentation


As part of my MS in Analytics program, I had an opportunity to discuss about PowerPoint progress.

It was in 2010, that gives me jitters even to this day, that within a week of starting a new role, I was required by the executive leadership team to talk about my past experience in product quality, and my future objectives for the company for the next 3-5 years in front of Board of Directors.

PowerPoint slides done in a hurry without a theme, purpose, or a storyline washes away from the minds of audience. Since then, I owe it to my then boss as he had taught me how to tell a story and make it interesting to an audience with PowerPoint.


When is PowerPoint is most effective?


Per Paradi (n.d.), PowerPoint presentation is most effective when we as presenters want the audience to remember key points from the presentation i.e., as a “visual reminder”. Title and bullet points provide the key points of presentation and PowerPoint would be ideal to relay a message that is worth remembering after the event.

Another useful way to use PowerPoint as an effective tool is to share visuals such as insights from data through graphs, pictures, and so forth. Pictures are worth remembering and when the understanding of a topic needs to be confirmed during a training session, pictures on a PowerPoint slide will do the trick.


How are newer data visualization software products, such as SAS Visual Analytics or Tableau, are changing the rules (or best practices) for creating presentations?


Per Pasulka (2013), visual analytics has morphed into understanding audience psyche (visual) to present and represent data, and the art of making memorable presentations. This includes use of color schemes (e.g., traffic lights), shapes, sizes, types, and effective placement of text locations. Another point to note is that this depth of understanding has helped in improving presenter’s effectiveness in weaving the story and to create a sense of an insightful understanding of a situation after the presentation.

In addition, drill down, roll up capabilities, and data labels when hovered around a data point in space make the data come alive and has revolutionized presentation art in the last decade or so. Point and click interfaces without a need for coding knowledge makes it universal for anyone to embrace creation of visual analytics with special effects.


Set of rules for incorporating data into PowerPoint presentations.


Per Duarte (n.d.) 5 rules for data slides are:

  1. Pick the right tool for the job
  2. Get to the point
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Highlight what’s important
  5. Tell the truth.

These rules sound simple however, the presenter has to put in sufficient amount of planning, knowing the audience, and follow these rules should help. The link for Duarte’s site provides good visuals on what works and what does not.


Summary: The presenter should know and understand the storyline, technique of presenting, and data very well and take the audience on a journey from darkness towards light (data to knowledge). Use of SAS Visual Analytics or Tableau are tools that should help presenting information based on knowledge of the audience. Audience are interested in the meaning within data and how the insights help them with their initiatives and these should be catered by the presenter to the audience.




Paradi, Dave (n.d.) When should you use PowerPoint? 

Pasulka, Sasha (2013) Visual Analytics Best Practices

Duarte, Nancy (n.d.) Great Presentations: Avoid Dense Data

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