PowerPoint is evil is not new. But on Monday, the New York Times rekindled discussions about the pitfalls of its use during presentations when it published a story on the U.S. military titled "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint."The idea that
The article details both the complexity and the duration of the slides the military utilizes for its briefings, and contains the rather damning quotation from General McChrystal, leader of NATO forces in Afghanistan, who when shown a particularly convoluted graphic (see below) during one briefing said, "When we understand that slide we'll have won the war."
While the slide decks that accompany your startup's pitch might not rise to the level of national security, you do want to be able to convey information in such a way that you can win the proverbial "hearts and minds" (and pocketbooks) of your audience. And so it's worth revisiting some of the classic tips for presentations that win:
10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint remains some of the most important advice: Keep your presentation to 10 slides. Keep your presentation to 20 minutes. Don't use anything smaller than a 30 point font.Guy Kawasaki's
Alexei Kapterev's Death By PowerPoint identifies the most common reasons presentations fail to be compelling: They lack significance, structure, simplicity and rehearsal.
When giving a pitch, your slide deck should include the following information:
Remember the difference between print and presentation. Your slides should be visual. If there is extra textual information you need to convey, include it in the notes.
Presentations and pitches are not simply about the visuals you project onto a screen. Even the most exciting slide deck can fall flat if you don't convey energy and passion in your pitch. Don't simply read the slides. Although you do want your slides to be engaging, you and your company should be the focus. You want your presentation to help tell a convincing story to your audience.
And finally, while a nice clear screenshot can make a good slide, a demo of your product will convey information better than any PowerPoint presentation could.
Image: New York Times