You might have read somewhere that animations are evil and should be avoided by all means. This is not true. The truth is that animations should be used rarely and carefully, but they are not forbidden. Of course, most kinds of animations that Powerpoint has to offer are pure nonsense. Fade in, fade out, jump, bounce, zoom, grow, chessboard, boomerang and lord knows what else….all those animation effects are crap and can be used for creating a Powerpoint presentation for a children’s birthday party, but not for professional business presentations. In fact, the only acceptable animation effect is “appear”. But when is it reasonable to use an animation? Well, I can think of three main situations for which I would recommend it:
1. Enumeration: You have three (or four or five…) aspects on your slide, but don’t want to reveal them all at once. Perhaps you want to talk about the first topic for a while and make sure that you have the full attention of your audience while you do so. So you just let the first topic “appear”. When changing to the second topic you show the second one and so on. This way you can guide your listeners from topic to topic and prevent them from letting their eyes wander across the slide when they are not supposed to.
2. Contrast: You want to compare or contrast two (or more) aspects with each other. In this situation, it is appropriate to just show the first one (“…market share in Brazil has improved significantly”), talk about it, and then, to enforce the contrasting effect, unveil the second one (“…while the other South-American countries have performed below expectations”)
3. Asking a question: Sometimes, it can be very effective (and pretty nice, actually, to break up the endless “sermon”) to get your audience involved in your presentation by addressing them directly, for example with a question. For this purpose, an animation is very useful because it allows you to ask the question first and then give the answer on the same slide with a mouse click.
Check the following examples: