How to rock your next Presentation

Many presenters are experts in their field but fail to effectively communicate their message. They misuse PowerPoint (or Prezi), deliver poorly, or both. The result is that boardrooms become ‘bored rooms’ as audiences tune out and turn off. Follow these guidelines to improve your next slide presentation.

 Top 10 Tips: 

1. Choose a simple slide template with a high contrast between text and background, though preferably not a white background with black text, which can cause eye strain. Link the template design to your logo or corporate identity via colours and animated shapes (you can make these in PowerPoint by combining shapes).

2. Avoid gradient backgrounds. They make text clarity inconsistent, and are reproduced less faithfully across different monitors and projectors. 

3. Avoid the temptation to put your logo on every slide. The more you show it, the less it means.

4. Use no more than two fonts or font sizes throughout the presentation. Using three or more fonts/sizes is called “ransom noting” in the design community; it is the annoying mark of
an amateur.

5. Use the 8 x 24 rule: no more than eight lines and 24 words, total, per slide. Put further details in the notes section and you can view these in PowerPoint using Presenter View.

6. Use as few words as possible on each slide because it takes about one-third longer to read something on-screen than on paper, and you don’t want to have to stall your conversation while the audience catches up. Omit articles (a, an, the) to keep your PowerPoint within the 8 x 24 rule.

7. Never read an entire PowerPoint slide verbatim to your audience, unless they’re in kindergarten and you’re reading them a story. In a business setting, it makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about and puts the audience
to sleep.

8. Use sans-serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Helvetica) because they are easier to read on-screen. Serif fonts (e.g. Times Roman) are easier to read in print so use those for printed notes.

9. Use Capitalised Words Sparingly, because they decrease reading speed. There’s no advantage in capitalising beyond the first word in a sentence.

10. Remove the background from pictures on your slides using the PowerPoint “remove background” tool. A cutout picture will look much more professional than a square picture on a white background.


Raised and educated in the UK, John Quinn arrived in Dubai in 1996 and worked with Philips Middle East before starting Satellite Visual Communication (, a presentation company with a focus on next-generation digital media and related products, services and solutions. 


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