Effective Powerpoint Presentations



Somewhere I read: Powerpoint keeps evolving, presenters keep devolving. I totally agree. I work for one of the best companies in the World and I often see boring presentations made with more than 50 slides presented by extremely boring and pedantic people.

Guy Kawasaky is trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 rule.
- Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting.

- You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.

- The reason people use a small font is twofold: first, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing. Total bozosity. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well.

I have been presenting for about 10 years, and although I am not Guy Kawasaky (my hero) here are few advices taken from Kosslyn's "Clear and to the Point".

The Goldilocks Rule
Present the "just right" amount of data. Never include more information than your audience needs in a visual image. As an example, Kosslyn showed two graphs of real estate prices over time. One included ten different numbers, one for each year. The other included two numbers: a peak price, and the current price. For the purposes of a presentation about today's prices relative to peak price, those numbers were the only ones necessary.

The Rudolph Rule
If you refer to simple ways you can make information stand out and guide your audience to important details. If you are presenting a piece of relevant data in a list, why not make the data of interest a different color from the list? Or circle it in red? The eye is immediately drawn to any object that looks different in an image, whether that's due to color, size, or separation from a group.

The Rule of Four
Human brain can generally hold only four pieces of visual information simultaneously. So don't ever present your audience with more than four things at once. This is a really important piece of information for people who tend to pack their PowerPoint slides with dense reams of data. Never give more than four pieces of information at once.

The Birds of a Feather Rule
"We think of things in groups when they look similar or in proximity to each other," Kosslyn pointed out. Translation into PowerPoint? If you want to indicate to your audience that five things belong in a group, make them similar by giving them the same color or shape. Or group them very close together. This sounds basic, but it often means taking your data apart and reorganizing it.

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