Everyone’s always looking for the Holy Grail, the silver bullet, the magic pill that will solve all their problems and ensure they get it right every time. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing in business and there’s certainly no such thing in PowerPoint. Instead, we’re left with time-tested guidelines.Seth Godin ranks among the most astute observers hanging his hat at the intersection of business and technology. Some time ago, he published an eBook with the seductive title “Really Bad PowerPoint,” harboring hope that bad PowerPoint would become a historical fact. It wasn’t to be and Godin has re-hashed his thoughts and wit on the subject. Notably, he includes five rules he claims you need to remember to create amazing PowerPoint presentations:
1. No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.
2. No cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images.
3. No dissolves, spins or other transitions.
4. Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never use the sound effects that are built in to the program. Instead, rip sounds and music from CDs and leverage the Proustian effect this can have. If people start bouncing up and down to the Grateful Dead, you’ve kept them from falling asleep, and you’ve reminded them that this isn’t a typical meeting you’re running.
5. Don’t hand out print-outs of your slides. They don’t work without you there.