What Great PowerPoint Slides Look Like

I once had a client walk into my office with a printout of their PowerPoint deck.

There was one slide printed on each page; the document was as thick as the average Yellow Pages. The slides were full of bullets, overly complicated graphics, and unnecessary footnotes. Worse, that slide deck was to be used for a two-hour presentation that required audience interaction.

So it’s no surprise that PowerPoint, due to user abuse, has been demonized in recent years. But communications trainers who insist their clients should never use PowerPoint slides are doing them a disservice. I’ve long maintained that the problem isn’t the tool, but the use of that tool.

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Since reading Garr Reynolds’s influential book, Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery a few years ago, I’ve recommended it to many of our clients. Below, you’ll find a SlideShare presentation that features many of Reynolds’ “best practices” slides.

If you ever prepare slides for your organization, follow Reynolds’s lead. If someone else does, send them the link to this article so they can learn what modern day best practices look like.

And if you haven’t already read Presentation Zen, get a copy and keep it on your reference shelf. Your audiences will notice the difference in the professionalism of your presentations – and they’ll thank you for not drowning them in a sea of endlessly dull PowerPoint slides.

Below, you’ll see a slide I created for a recent presentation based on Reynolds’ example:


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