Teaching Material | Teaching English Better

Presentation Skills? Seriously? (Part Seven)

Article Index

An integral part of preparing and carrying out a presentation has to do with the selection of the appropriate software. Most of us would tend to use what is readily available: the software that is installed on the computer we use.

This fact, however, should not deter us from exploring other choices that are available. There are a number of criteria we can use in making a choice, i.e., personal preferences, expert knowledge, intended audience, content and use of the presentation, desired effect, etc.

There is one type of presentation software that is widely available and is considered the industry standard. What does this mean exactly?The term refers to “a practice, method, process or criteria adopted as convention by industry members either through formal agreement or through emulation of best practices established by industry leaders.”

One such program is PowerPoint by Microsoft. All PC users are aware of its existence, most have used it and/or have experienced a presentation that takes advantage of its environment and features. Why should we worry about adopting such an approach? There are three good reasons according to Microsoft : “Standards are tools to help promote efficiency, interoperability, and innovation.”

George Drivas, Director of Studies, Department of Foreign Languages

In particular,

Efficiency: Information workers today can create data and store it on one computer or in one software program, and export it for use in many other computers and programs.

Interoperability: This allows very different and often competing devices and services to speak to each other and to understand each other’s data. 

Innovation: Once standards are introduced to the market, competing vendors can then focus on developing truly innovative experiences for users by either introducing next-generation technology or adding on complementary features.

Good standards are enablers since they make it possible to build better products, they provide a basis for new solutions and they operate invisibly.