The Oaks Ignore Their Pleas

Presentation Design

Posted in General by Jeff Graves on February 12, 2014

I hate to admit this, but there’s a phrase that I cringe hearing, but it’s one that I’ve uttered myself on far too many occasions. Most people who have sat through a business presentation based on PowerPoint have heard it, probably many times:

“This slide is kind of hard to read, but I put it in because…”

Yeah, you just lost me. The limitations of PowerPoint are pretty numerous, and all you have to do is listen to a talk by Edward Tufte if you disagree with me. While Tufte might argue that the use of PowerPoint can be downright dangerous, I won’t go so far here. The reality is that PowerPoint has become a default tool for most companies, but it’s important to recognize the limitations inherent in the platform, and work to overcome them. Anyone who’s giving a presentation needs to consider the audience when designing material to support a talk, and there’s just no excuse for putting up a slide that requires that disclaimer before you make your point.

And yes, I’ve said it before, and I don’t feel good about that. I know that sometimes you run out of time to “get it right”, or you’re working with someone else’s slides, or you just don’t think it’s worth the time to refine a hard-to-read slide into something more palatable.

Here’s my solution to this challenge: I’m making a resolution here and now, that when I find myself with a slide that will require a disclaimer, I’ll do one of two things – Fix The Slide or Delete It.

In Summary: Consider your audience when creating presentation material, and don’t disrespect them by being lazy.

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One Response

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  1. Jay said, on February 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    +1. Down with the ugly / useless / illegible slides that you stuffed in, just in case.


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