Presentation Rules of Thumb
Presentation Rules of Thumb
Readability and audience engagement issues to consider with your presentations
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  1. 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.
  2. Aim for no more than 5-7 lines of copy per slide.
  3. Try to keep slides under 20 words. Break up into multiple slides if necessary.
  4. Avoid using italics and all capital letters. Upper and lowercase is more readable.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Avoid type that moves, spins, or zooms in. It makes it harder for the audience to concentrate on your message.
  8. 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.
  9. Having photos or graphics accompany your text increases retention by up to 40%.
  10. Plan the last slide first. Your presentation should lead the audience to this last slide.
  11. Distill it down to three main takeaways if possible, so your message is easy to remember.
  12. Think — Brevity, Levity, Repetition.