FAIL #1: Using the same deck for in-person presentations and for email
Garr Reynolds was one of Steve Jobs’ presentation trainers. On his book Presentation Zen, he introduces the term presdoc. A presdoc is a hybrid between a presentation and a text document that serves neither purpose well… it has too much text to be a proper presentation, and to few text to be a readable, understandable document.
If you are standing in front of your slides there’s no need to type everything you are about to say. It distracts your audience, because they can’t hear you and read at the same time. If you intend to present, make sure that your slides simply complement and reinforce your point.
You can’t always present in person, in these cases an alternative may be an email-presentation. These decks contain much more data than an actual presentation, but shouldn’t be a replacement to an actual text doc.
A couple rules to keep in mind are:
- Make sure that the font size doesn’t go below 12pts.
- Stick to one idea per slide. More slides is not necessarily bad, as long as you don’t go over 50 or so.
The most important thing here is, don’t use the same presentation to email and to present, make (at least) two separate documents.
If your slides can stand by themselves,Garr Reynolds
then why the hell are you in front of them?
FAIL #2: Resizing photos the wrong way
The image to the right explains this very clearly; Do not, under any circumstance, resize your images disproportionally. If you’re using traditional presentation tools, make sure you hold SHIFT while resizing to ensure the proportions are kept.
FAIL #3: Multi-chart slides
Back in the old days when slides were transparent and presented with a retroprojector, we could understand you were saving space and cash. Not anymore. Trees will not be killed if you use four separate slides instead of cramming all the charts on a single one.
We have a very simple rule, if one graph is not important enough to deserve its own slide, then it probably shouldn’t be on your presentation.
FAIL #4: Funky Transitions
We know deep in our hearts that those transitions are there for a reason, but we have no idea what that reason is. If you’re using PowerPoint, please, STAY AWAY FROM THIS SECTION, limit yourself to Dissolve or the old fashioned ‘None’.
Simple is better. Please remember that.
FAIL #5: The ‘Thank You’ Slide
Please, stop the madness. Seriously. We understand you presentation is over, you don’t need to waste a slide stating that. If you want closure, simply create a ‘Contact Slide’ with your email, twitter handle and website and speak the words yourself.