How to Make Your PowerPoints Suck Less Than PowerPoints Usually Do


• If you're like most college students, you probably hate being in the audience for PowerPoint presentations.

• Why? Because most PowerPoints are, in a word, BORING. Why are they boring? Because all they consist of is a bunch of text-heavy slides which the speaker will read to you often right off the screen, which means that the speaker's eye contact will be with the screen, not with you.

• In order to make your PowerPoint presentations suck less than they usually do, you should:

• Minimize the number of slides.

• Minimize the amount of text on each slide. (The ideal number of words to have on a slide is zero. If words are necessary, you can say them.)

• Show a slide only when you're talking about it.

• Talk about a slide only when the audience can see it.

• Rehearse your presentation, so that, even when showing a slide, you can focus your eye contact on the audience, not on the screen.

• Put a blank slide before your first slide, between each pair of slides, and after your last slide, so you can keep the screen blank when you're not actually talking about a slide.

• Skip the corny sound effects and transitions.

• If you're showing a bar graph, don't three-dimensionalize the bars. Don't ever use a pie chart.


• Any time you're asked to make a PowerPoint, I recommend that you try to limit yourself to no more than five slides and that you avoid text as much as possible. Instead, you might scan relevant pictorial material (photos, charts, tables, diagrams) and use that to illustrate the things you're actually saying. That right there might well be all you need!