A Presentation Primer – Part Two


I’ve been working on my presentation since I posted Presentation Primer – Part One.  I’ve developed what I feel is a pretty good draft of content, now I am going over each slide meticulously looking for opportunities to reduce wordy slides, moving slides around to improve flow, looking for consistency in font type, size, and colors, and thinking about how many slides I will ultimately need to support my talking points.  Through the years of giving presentations at work, I’ve developed a set of guidelines to follow whenever I create slide shows to support my presentations.

  • Don’t Go Crazy With Animation Effects.  They are distracting and tacky.  Only use animation effects if it is necessary.  Watching a slide title zoom in, spin around 5 times, and then zoom out and then fade back in is freaking ridiculous.
  • Pick A Subtle Slide Transition.  Be consistent when transitioning from slide to slide.  Stick to one simple and clean transition throughout the entire presentation.
  • Use Pleasant Colors.  A blue or green themed slide design may work to your advantage.  Stick to a soft blue or a soft green accents, nothing too right or bold.  Word on the street is these colors are known to increase productivity, provoke discussion, and give the audience the warm fuzzies.
  • Use Fonts Consistently.  Pick a font or two and stick with it.  The font for slide titles can be different from those in the slide body.
  • Make it Print Friendly.  The content in the slides should be crisp and legible when they are printed out in black and white or color.
  • Make it Easy to Read.  Make sure the text and graphics are legible for the farthest person or row. This isn’t the nosebleed section.
  • Use Contrast.  Make sure the font color is also dark or bright enough to be read on the screen.  Sometimes projectors or monitors may wash out some of the lighter colors, making them hard to read and blend into the background.  Ensure there is enough contrast between the text and the background.
  • Make It Color Blind Friendly.  This may be a bit extreme, but you’ll want to avoid text, and graphics that may make it difficult for the color blind to see!
  • Number the slides.  If you have slides printed out and someone tells you to go back to slide 33 and there’s no page number on the slides…”Would you go back to the previous slide, no, the other one, before the previous slide…no, that’s not it…”
  • Go Easy on the Length of Text.  Don’t fill the page up with an essay as the text does not do the talking.

Once I feel comfortable for the slideshow to be somewhat presentable, I will start the process of practicing my presentation, which in itself is difficult as I often go back to make changes to the slides.  Only 10 days left to prepare!

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