All of us have seen PowerPoint presentations, most done ineffectively and some done brilliantly.  And most of us have built a slide deck for our own presentations.  Put aside any bias against this tool--it remains one of the most versatile and effective information presentation platforms available.  Whether run as a program on a laptop or as an app on either an iPad or tablet, it is as good (or bad) as you make it. A presentation built on one platform can be saved and stored in a cloud setting, giving you the ability to work and present from multiple platforms.  Our purpose here is to help you find new ways of using PowerPoint and better ways of building presentations.  So be open minded, and learn something new. 

Basic Tips

Let's start with 5 basic tips to follow when building a presentation.  And let's keep this simple.

1.    One message per slide.  If you are doing a list, reveal and conceal each item separately so that there is only one showing at a time.

2.    Combine a visual image with short text summary of key points--steer focus with contrast and size

3.    Simply, the most important part of your slide should be the biggest. Remember what causes us to focus:  movement, signaling color, contrast rich objects, and big objects. So, headline should be reduced in size unless it is the most important part of the slide.  Otherwise, reduce the headline size and enlarge the content.  

4.    Contrast--High contrast is best, black background and white letters, red for accent. 

        Black background keeps the speaker as the highest contrast image on stage.

        Six is the magic number for the maximum number of images on the screen.

5.     Do not speak when asking the audience to read.


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Use for Case Management

As you gather information during the life of a case, consider using PowerPoint to organize key events, images of key evidence, and applicable law.  Simply create a template for use on every case.  Add the template to your digital file setup.  Then add content during the life of the case.  The program is flexible, allowing easy addition of new slides or reorientation of existing slides.  Imbed screen shots of key documents.  Use your imagination. 

We have pre-built some PowerPoint templates for you to use in your own practice as a starting point for getting organized.  

Mediation template

reporting template

settlement conference template

Here are a few TED talks on PowerPoint and effective presentations with PowerPoint that are worth watching.