When working with teams, I happen to explain over and over again what I think is a good presentation and what I think is a bad presentation. Now I post that wishful thinking of mine here, so that I can redirect everybody here who wants to know what I appreciate when putting together a presentation.
Mandatory: Title slide
The first slide must contain
- the date of the presentation
- the names of each presenter
- the title / subtitle of the presentation
Mandatory: Slide numbers
I want slide numbers on every slide. If there are no slide numbers, people cannot take notes and refer to a particular slide afterwards.
Mandatory: PDF only
There is no way I accept a PowerPoint or Keynotes file when handing in the presentation to the customer. It has to be PDF. However, it is OK to use the Keynotes project to present the presentation, because the Mac OS PDF full screen view sucks.
Mandatory: Rounded corners
Yes, I could put this into “Nice-to-Have features”, but it is so little work and so much effect that I request it. Use black, rounded corners for your presentation. If you don’t know how to do that, take it as an opportunity to learn how to do that. Keynotes should be shipping with a rounded corners function :)
Mandatory: No animations
The presentation mustn’t have any animation.
Everybody in the team carries the presentation on a USB stick. Even better: bring some print-outs to be sure.
It-depends: Dark / Light slide background
Guy Kawasaki made a stunning remark about why slides should have a dark background: Did you ever see the credits in the end of a movie on white background? At any rate, I recommend that you use a dark background (gray/black/blue) when the audience is sitting in a very small room and the screen is right in front of their eyes and they have to look at presentations all day long. In that case it is exhausting to look at a huge bright wall. If the presentation is a rather unique event of the day, you should use white background (easier to print as well). Check out the Apple Keynotes for good-looking dark background, they’re hard to make.
- doesn’t need to reboot for VGA output
- has the monitors synchronized, so that the presentation will be on the one and only main monitor
- doesn’t have any icons on the desktop (looks very unprofessional)
- does have an unspectacular, neutral desktop wallpaper (preferably black)
- was tested on the beamer BEFORE the presentation started
- has NO other program open (like messenger, outlook) except the presentation
- has REALLY NO other program running, that includes the screensaver!
- is connected to the power or has a full battery
- does NOT introduce the next speaker. You just leave the stage when you said your part.
- will have a remote control (if not, let the others take care of controlling the slides)
- does NOT look at one person (e.g. professor) – look at all the people
- has practiced his part at least 3 times in front of the mirror and hits his time limit exactly
- stand on the SAME side while not saying anything
- give the presenter FULL attention and are completely silent