︎Back to Home

what is a “good” presentation?


Here are a collection of general points to consider for presentations. This is PowerPoint/Keynote/Google Slides focused, but assumes you know you have the power to create a video, or more involved performance where applicable.

What not to do

Here are three things not to do in your presentation.
  1. Do not use templates.
  2. Do not use templates.
  3. Do not use templates.

To be clear I mean a pre-existing template in the software you are using (Google Slides, PowerPoint, or Keynote). Your presentation is about your project, so select the typography that resonates with that project, use your own drawings or graphs, use your own lettering, etc. Use your presentation to reflect the style and energy you want the project to exude. I shouldn’t have to say this but inevitably it happens. Use whatever rationale works for you. Those templates are designed for people who have absolutely no design experience not for people in the field pursuing it.

Please also be advised this is not a “test” and I will use the honor system here, this might also mean you will get feedback that your design feels “template-y” even if it is not.

Here are some more serious tips

  1. Show don’t tell. If you have visuals showing where the project currently is or some representation of it; lead with that. People have imaginations and if you spend 5 minutes describing something that is ultimately a half-baked napkin sketch right now the viewer may experience disappointment or it can make your presentation feel unnecssarily inflated. Don’t give your viewer the time to imagine something that is better or at least divergent from the thing you are making. Similarly, avoid “pie in the sky” or grandiose descriptions and try to accompany your idea with a realistic visual example.

  2. Less words = more good. (usually). When we say “PowerPoint” usually what comes to mind is something like this.

    A title that is too big, 3-4 points below it, some arbitrary fluff around the words. Don’t do this. Think of what will happen if you simply show a .gif or more robust display type like the one below

    and then start talking about a dream you had that inspired your project, rather than a list of the things that happened in your dream. Be conscious of when you are forcing your viewer to read large blocks of text (not why they came to a presentation) and when your visuals and your description can work synergistically.
  3. Have notes. This may be slightly more difficult if you only have one monitor, but if you cannot use the “presenter notes” features that presentation software provides simply put poster notes around your monitor or using something like your phone or an iPad to have notes somewhere else that you can refer to. This will help you minimize the words on screen and keep the attention of your viewers.
  4. Practice. This is largely for timing and the clarity of your points. If you have the ability to present to someone else that should be helpful. In lieu of having anyone else around, record yourself and then study the results of your recording. It can be difficult to see/hear yourself but try to bear with it and think of how you might improve (changing the order of points, trying not to say “um” etc)

Good presentations

I’m presenting these here so they will hopefully be inspiring to some degree. Your presentation does not need to be as long as some of these, but any costumes, metaphors or animations are generally welcomed. Also look at how they use the presentation form in relation to the tips I gave below.

︎Back to Home