Over the past few months, there have been several client visits and I have been going through several presentations. I recently realized ‘Death by Powerpoint’ experience and so decided to do some reading on powerpoint best practices which I thought I would share with you.

I recently read Guy Kawasaki’s ‘Art of the Start’.  I also read Seth Godin’s ‘Really Bad Powerpoint (and how to avoid it)’.

There were few points that stuck with me after reading their books.

  • Powerpoint is a tool for communication. But most people use it as a tele-prompter. The presenters essentially read through the slides.
  • 10/20/30 Rule – No more than 10 slides that last for 20 minutes having 30 font size. I do not completely agree with this rule. This rule is very subjective and the presentation size (number of slides) and time will depend on the topic. The font size will also depend on the size of audience for whom you are going to present.
  • Slides should reinforce your words and not repeat them. I have noticed lots of presenters write down everything that they are going to talk about in the slide itself which also results in  the slides being cluttered. In that case, there is no role for the presenter, it is enough if the audience just reads the slides.
  • Use Bullet Points. Having white space will make the slide look empty but it will definitely assist the viewer in discovering the focus point.
  • Do not use Clip Art. Use professional images. A picture is worth a thousand words. There are several sites that offer royalty free images at no cost.
  • Use transitions / music minimally in your presentation. Personally I hate it when people use transitions. While sitting in a meeting, the audience usually does not have the patience to watch a new block/text in the slide come at a slow pace.
  • Dont hand out print out of your slides. I have noticed that whenever a hard copy is given, people tend to read it whenever the presenter is presenting. So essentially they are not listening to the presenter.

Finally giving effective presentation requires a balance between narrating a good story i.e. quality of the presentation and providing the enough details to support your story. The details should only support the story and not reveal the entire story.

~ Ramya