Steve Martin

Designer, Thinker, Student of Human Behavior

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3 Steps to Good PowerPoint Presentations

I've given several presentations/webinars/speeches to groups and conferences lately, and they've all gone very well - it's something I really enjoy. I tend to get a lot of compliments on the content & presentation style which is humbling and welcome since I really put a lot of time in to each presentation. The thing that I DIDN'T expect when I got the presentations together was how many people would love my PowerPoint presentations themselves! (I use the term "PowerPoint" only because it's become a ubiquitous term for "digitally projected presentation" although I don't use PowerPoint - read below) I have yet to give a talk without multiple people telling me how much the PowerPoint itself was awesome. Questions like "How did you do that?" and "Can I hire you to do my presentations?" (at least 5 people have asked that one) are common. I recently got an email from someone in Vancouver asking me for tips on good PPT presentations, so I thought I'd copy/paste what I emailed him to give other people a place to go:

There's so much that goes in to a good presentation it's hard to distill it down into a blog post, but here are 3 steps that will help.

  • Step 1: Read Seth Godin's eBook: "Really Bad Powerpoint and How to Avoid It" (click here to download it - it's free) It will cover a LOT of things such as limiting the amount of text on a slide, using big images, etc. This will help you way more than I could in a short post.
  • Step 2: Don't use PowerPoint (if you can avoid it). I use Keynote, which is a Mac only application. (If you don't use a Mac, click HERE and BUY ONE - you'll thank me later). Keynote is vastly superior to PowerPoint in many many ways: better built-in themes, better transitions, and better overall design to name a few. It makes it easy to look polished and slick.
  • Step 3: Have very good content (this should go without saying). If you don't have well thought-out content that's well organized, you're not going to have a good presentation.

Hope that helps! Feel free to ask any other questions you may have, but no - I won't do your presentation for you. If you don't do it yourself, people will know.