An Introduction to PowerPoint
ISBN 0 7460 4812 2
Reviewed by the Editor of Play for Life April 2006
Even if you’ve never used a computer before, this book gives
you the essential skills you need to create a lively and professional
presentation. Packed with handy tips, it is written in simple, jargon-free
language, with lots of helpful step-by-step illustrations. You’ll learn how to
plan, design and put on presentations that will impress any audience. This is
the claim on the back cover. This well designed book does just what it says in
a style that is the antithesis of the typical software manual and in my opinion
superior even to the Dummy series of books.
Why are PowerPoint skills important to a Play Therapist? If
you work for an agency or organisation, either directly or as a sub-contractor
they are essential for two main reasons. Firstly to ensure that resources,
financial and others, are provided and maintained in order that a play therapy
service may be provided. Secondly to ensure that everyone that is involved in
the service is consulted and kept informed about the objectives, the
requirements, outcomes and boundaries. Achieving these objectives involves
giving presentations which must be professional if they are to be effective.
The days are gone when overhead projector foils were acceptable. There have
been many times when this reviewer has cringed at the speaker’s overheads which
were unreadable beyond the front row, were shown upside down and out of order
because they had cascaded to the floor.
There used to be the excuse that data projectors, which
project the image generated by the computer onto a screen, were expensive or
not available. The overwhelming majority of primary schools, social services
units and primary care trusts are now equipped with these so you will not
normally have to invest in one. However the cost is now well below a thousand
pounds and you can also use it as a big screen home television or you can rent
one for the day if you need to. Almost as bad are the presenters who start by
apologising about their inability to control PowerPoint and need someone by
their side to push the buttons.
A recent poll showed that speaking in public was amongst
many people’s top fears, even ahead of dying. Like many things the biggest
source of fear is the unknown and the way to overcome this is to build
experience in giving public presentations. The starting points are to really
know your subject, know the objectives of your presentation and match these to
the audience. PowerPoint helps you in the last two of these as well as producing
the visual or audio/visual aids you will need.
Many universities insist that all students, whatever their
course, acquire basic information technology skills including PowerPoint. APAC
have included the development of play therapy presentations by students, using
PowerPoint in the first year Certificate course. Some students find this
daunting to begin with as they have to build self-confidence and master the
technical skills. ‘An Introduction to PowerPoint will certainly provide all the
technical skills needed and APAC provides an outline presentation from which
individualised versions may be produced for their students.
The book is written in very simple language, with each point
illustrated by a colour picture usually a screen shot. For example: Your screen
looks like this one. This is the PowerPoint window, which is divided into three
separate sections called panes. (Each pane is then identified and explained in
Although the book has only 48 pages it is a tribute to the
author, designers and illustrator that it is very comprehensive, even though
PowerPoint is probably the simplest of Microsoft’s Office range of software. It
covers all the PowerPoint components used to construct a presentation, using
words, pictures, charts and special effects. It also includes giving the
presentation in a number of ways, installing the software and troubleshooting.
I have used PowerPoint for many years but discovered some
features and short cuts new to me. There are only two significant topics that
are missing. The most important is the use of a master slide, to save time and
ensure consistency where elements, such as logos, are repeated on each slide.
Secondly the creation of hyperlinks to enable the presentation to be given
non-sequentially in response to questions from the audience – but this feature
is quite advanced and presenters need to build up their experience first before
A brilliant book. All computer books for users should be
produced like it. At a list price £9.99 it is a bargain. Buy it if you are new
to giving presentations or PowerPoint or want to brush up your skills!
You may buy this book through PTUK’s associate link to
Amazon. Help us to keep membership fees down.