Presentation Rules of Thumb
Readability and audience engagement issues to consider with your presentationsTo download a pdf click here.
- Your slides should NOT be an exact word for word repeat of your presentation. You want your audience to listen to the presenter, not read his/her presentation.
- Aim for no more than 5-7 lines of copy per slide.
- Try to keep slides under 20 words. Break up into multiple slides if necessary.
- Avoid using italics and all capital letters. Upper and lowercase is more readable.
- Don’t underline to provide emphasis; it makes it difficult in terms of both legibility and readability. To provide emphasis, change the color of the word(s), change the weight or thickness, or change the size.
- To make a text heavy slide more readable, increase the line spacing and paragraph spacing.This is found under the paragraph menu or tab in PowerPoint.
- Avoid type that moves, spins, or zooms in. It makes it harder for the audience to concentrate on your message.
- Lighter text on a dark background is easier for your audience to read. Though there are times when your content is better displayed dark on a light background.
- Having photos or graphics accompany your text increases retention by up to 40%.
- Plan the last slide first. Your presentation should lead the audience to this last slide.
- Distill it down to three main takeaways if possible, so your message is easy to remember.
- Think — Brevity, Levity, Repetition.