Tips for a Good Presentation

If there is a huge pet peeve of mine, it is Powerpoint or Keynote presentations. Back in 1993, I worked for a company in Huntsville, Alabama that did a lot of support work for Strategic Defense, such as engineering, graphic design, illustration, etc. I worked with a group that created power point presentations that Strategic Defense presented to Capitol Hill to raise funds for specific high security projects. I had a high security clearance to draw Hummers. (Yeah, way before soccer moms had them). I drew Hummers, missiles, airplanes, and warfare, with all sorts of equations and symbols, most of which I didn’t understand. Had I been kidnapped and tortured for information, I wouldn’t have been able to save myself since I didn’t know what any of it meant.

These Powerpoint  presentations were usually about 300 slides, with illustrations, animations, and all sorts of information. There were so many Acronyms that we had a few pages in the front dedicated just for Acronym definitions. Once “finished” (they were never finished) we printed 30-40 copies. That is 300 slides times 30 or 40. We then spiral-bound and packaged them. These would then be flown with this certain Colonel, to Washington D.C. to present to Congress to get more money for the project we were working with. We were slaves of the Colonel who would have us making changes until the last minute before they flew to Washington, DC. Sometimes we worked for a week sleeping when we could. Some of my co-workers ended up flying to Washington with the Colonel so that he could make changes until the last minute. It was a crazy job.I drew the line there. No way I was flying to Washington. I finally could not stay in that job. I was exhausted and I never saw my family. sorry, government, my family comes first. A month after I quit, the project was scratched. Billions of dollars wasted on absolutely nothing. Yes, people, it is not welfare that is bringing us down.

The worse part I remember was how tacky and awful these presentations were. I imagined everyone in congress falling asleep about 5 minutes into the presentation. There really isn’t anywhere that says that these things have to be so horrible. You could actually have nice presentation. Not done with Powerpoint, of course. And not by the secretaries. This is not their job!

I just found this short articles with very good tips for the layman having to do a Keynote or worse, a Powerpoint presentation.

My first tip to you: If you are on PC, change. Find a Mac and use Keynote. Why? Simple to use, beautiful templates, and it integrates with all the other Mac software.

The second tip I would offer is remember that less is more. When in doubt: KEEP IT SIMPLE! Just because your computer has a lot of fonts, that doesn’t mean you have to use them all.

Keep Illustrations, photos, graphics to a minimum on every page.  Don’t fill the page with stuff. You don’t have to fill every inch of the page.

Make sure your backgrounds are printable and they don’t overwhelm the information on the page. If you have a hard time reading it, so will your audience.

And to end, no music unless you are dong a presentation for a radio station or a music store. The last thing people want is bad music playing in the background.