If you want to test a man’s character, give him power*point

If you work in corporate America you have been conditioned to have very low expectations from powerpoint presentations. It doesn't have to be that way.

Here is a list of insights from Slide:ology, an interesting book about “the art and science of creating great presentations” :
  1. Presentation software is the first application broadly adopted by professionals that requires people to think visually.
  2. It’s laziness on the presenter’s part to put everything on one slide.
  3. To succeed as a presenter you must think as a designer. Designers focus on experience and every decision they make is intentional. It’s a good rule to try to remove everything on a slide that doesn’t bring emphasis to your point.
  4. Removing means empty space. But empty space is not nothing. It’s a powerful something and we have to learn to see it that way. Equally, a pause during a presentation is a tool. It creates drama and reinforces the story.
  5. “The three second rule”: the audience should be able to quickly ascertain the meaning of a slide before turning their attention back to the presenter. If a slide contains more than 75 words it’s a document. The audience reads ahead and has to wait for you to catch up (eventually they stop paying attention to you and you also look slow)
  6. Data slides are not about data. They are about the meaning of the data.
  7. People’s retention of data increases when they can “see” the numbers. (Example: 100 drops of water represent 100% of water on earth; animation of one water drop dissolving reveals that only 1% is fresh water)


Slide:ology is available from O'Reilly Media.


*one of the opening lines of the book (paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln)