One of the best things about using a Mac is getting to use Keynote. It is a powerful and beautiful alternative to working with power point. Keynote has flexible and easy-to-use animations (called “Builds”) and transitions between slides which can be used to surprise audiences or manage their attention. They can also be used to show the connections between simple concepts. While animations are powerful and can help you make your point they should only be used when they specifically relate to what you are saying.
One good use of animations is in building a table for the audience. In this case I use animations to move from the definition of a concept to an assessment framework for it. The method of moving from two (simple) lists to a (complex) matrix is a widely applicable technique.
In the following example, I use animations to show the relationship between the history of a concept to the conceptual framework I use for it. Without these animations, it’s difficult to bring the audience along.
As more people discover the power of animations, I notice them being misused more and more. Recently I was at a great talk but the slides were competing with the speaker rather than supporting him. You don’t want to be competing for your audience’s attention when your name bounces in amid a flying sparkles. Only you should sparkle in a talk, not the screen (unless of course it reinforces your point).