Monday, October 06, 2008

Powerpoint Rules

There is only one rule actually.

But first, my top five spreadsheet rules were noted here earlier, and I was going to follow with similar principles of Powerpoint design. However it looks like Seth Godin has just done it. He actually lists nine, but I'll quote five of them below (with some slight paraphrasing):

1. Keep it short. Ten minutes. The rest of your time should be answering questions raised in those ten minutes.

2. Do not let people to take notes. I don't mean tell them to stop writing, I mean they should come away with a crammed mind, not a crammed notebook.

3. Cut down the words. Words belong in memos (and blogs). Powerpoint is for one big picture.

4. Be clear what it is that you are selling. It might be an idea, or a budget, but it's still selling. If, at the end, I don't know what you're selling, you've failed.

5. Don't use Powerpoint at all. I do like to start with a clean whiteboard, then gradually build up a flowchart.

So I can simplify all those steps into just one rule. If the subject matter allows it, to cover your entire presentation, build precisely one slide. That's all.

Those are not just random blogwords, I actually try to follow that rule when presenting. Most of you do not.


Jon Cummins said...

Use of sound effects and animations should be punishable by a custodial sentence at the very least.

R N B said...

Good to see you here Jon. As I've written earlier, that kind of fluff is usually bad on a presentation, but it's downright shameful on a spreadsheet (or even on a blog site)

Faisal said...

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath is a really good book--it talks about staying focused on the core message, and the ways of presenting information to an audience so that it stays (or "sticks") in their memory.

Ann said...

But then again Rana, I have seen your one slide presentation at least a hundred times. Variety can be the spice of life don't you know.

And I know my presentations are crap so don't start.

v!sh said...

Where do I sit in your matrix Mr. RnB?

R N B said...

Faisal, I'll look at the Heath site and see what sticks.
Vish, what matrix?
Ann, you're right, I only have a few presentations that approximate to the ideal and I keep re-using them ... but nobody ever asks me to present about anything else!