How to Give a Great Presentation

Photo from hebedesign

Photo from hebedesign

Use Great Fonts

Creating a slideshow? Don’t let fonts be an afterthought. Digital Inspiration gives us an amazing guide on the best fonts for PowerPoint presentations. If you’re nervous about installing new fonts – don’t worry, it’s fairly easy and completely worth the trouble. (By the way, Font Squirrel is great for free fonts.)

Follow the 10/20/30 Rule

The 10/20/30 rule is one we should all try to live by:

  • 10. A PowerPoint presentation should have a maximum of ten slides.
  • 20. You should end your ten slides in twenty minutes – that is, your presentation should not last for more than 20 minutes.
  • 30. Use a font size that is at least thirty points or find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.

Listen to the Sage Wisdom of Jesse Desjardins

Photo from Jesse Desjardins

Photo from Jesse Desjardins

He knows you suck at PowerPoint, and he’s here to fix that. This slideshow has helped me more than any other resources! Thank you, Jesse. You have saved me from myself.

Oh – and take note: Jesse Desjardins has many more presentations that are definitely worth your time. Excuse me while I go flip through all 25 of them. (Hallelujah!)

Read Nancy Durante’s Books

Photo from Nancy Durante

Photo from Nancy Durante

Resonate and Slide:ology are fantastic resources. These books dissect great presentations, making it easier for you to emulate the greats. Sometimes the proof is in the pudding: here is Ms. Durante’s TED Talk.

Watch This TED Talk About TED Talks

Sebastian Wernicke uses statistical analysis to discuss what makes a great TED Talk. It’s a very interesting and humorous talk. His analysis suggests that wearing glasses and being slightly more dressed up than usual will curry favour with the audience. Sounds good to me!


Practice makes perfect, right? So here’s another tip: start by practicing in front of friends and family members (who will love you no matter what) and end by practicing in front of trusted colleagues. Your loved ones will help you boost your confidence, and your colleagues can give you constructive criticism. Practice is SO important. Not only will it make you more comfortable, but it will mean relying on your less on your notes and more on your previous experience.

Remember Wabi Sabi

Photo from Jinx!

Photo from Jinx!

Don’t agonize and obsess over your presentation! Keep in mind the Japanese art aesthetic Wabi Sabi which suggests:

Nothing is perfect. Nothing is fininished. Nothing lasts forever.

Presenting gets easier with practice. Keep throwing yourself out there and you’re bound to improve. It might not be perfect – but nothing is. It might never be truly finished – but even Randy Pausch was editing slides just minutes before he gave his last lecture. A presentation is just a small snippet of your life, and it’ll be over before you know it. Nothing is permanent… not even your fear! So be brave, give a talk, and learn from it. You’ll do even better next time – I know I did!


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