Bullets Kill . . . .

Bullets Kill, ….a presentation, that is.

I was listening to Michael Hyatt’s new podcast (This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt – Season 1, Episode 2) this morning on the way to work. I like to listen to podcasts instead of commercial radio lately. You get more information and less crap.   podcast

This episode really hit home for me.  In my role at work, I often put together presentations for training, showing new modules of the ECM solution we use, etc.  One of my last slide decks was for a training program I was tasked to put together.  It ended up being a total of 90 pages.  Now that sounds like a lot, but if you consider that it was really 10 different training modules it really breaks down to about 10 slides per module.  The original plan for the entire training program was to take about 3 hours, so I don’t think it was that bad.

But, back to the Podcast.  Michael and his co-host, Michele Cushatt offer seven great tips on how to prevent what they call. “death by PowerPoint or Keynote” or as Michael described . . . “Bullets Kill!”

Of course, I am going to start with a full magazine of 6 bullets to talk about Episode 2, which is entitled

The 6 Rules for More Effective Slide Presentations

“Slides should Amplify a presentation, not BE the presentation.”

I remember taking a marketing course recently where the instructor had slide presentations for each class.  Each class, she proceeded to stand in front of the class and READ from the slide deck.  In this situation, the slides were the presentation and the class!  BORING and not really what I paid good money for.  The slides should augment the presentation that you are giving.

  • Create a logical flow

Typically there is a single objective in presenting:
A) Persuade
B) Equip
It can’t be both.

Make sure people know what the point is for each point you are trying to make.  A good idea is to use numbers.
Create intrigue – don’t give away all at once.  Build a little anticipation.  Giving it all away at once creates “Slumber”.

  •  Make them readable

Your slides should be readable from anywhere in the room.  View the setup of the room and ensure that the slides can bee seen from everywhere.
Your fonts should be BIG & Beautiful and it is recommended to use “Serif” fonts, like Times New Roman.

  • Avoid clichéd photosSun Down

     One of the worst things you can do is use stock library photos of 2 people shaking hands or the old drop of water with ripples….
    Look for nuanced, retro, or uncommon photos.  Use phot0 shots done by yourself.

Spend time looking for photos – ( research – minutes to hours – Michael Hyatt uses 1 day for a presentation – reusable content….)

  •  Use one point per slide

Use only one point per slide.  This is frequently violated….  I am guilty myself. unfortunately.

Steve Jobs is said to be one of the best presenters – If talking about there being a 42% chance of achieving a goal if you Write It Down, he might have a slide that looked like this:

42 Percent

You want to make your slides memorable.  This slide gets the point across, augmenting the discussion points made by the speaker.






  • Remember, less is more

In his book, “Insanely Simple” – Ken Segall speaks about how employees at Apple used to say that “Steve hit us with “The Simple Stick”!” to describe his passion for simplicity.   He would continually remove for simplicity – one button on the iPhone for example.

Use one image that expresses the one impact or point you are trying to get across.

Creating a long presentation is “competition for the presenter”.  The slides take away from the presenter.  It’s like having two presenters on stage talking at the same time.

  • Create a resource page

Create a Resource Page – “handout”.   One mistake carried over from long ago is giving out copies of the presentation ahead of time.

Don’t give out slides ahead of time – as Michael states, this creates “cognitive dissonance”.

You should create a place with a call to action to get slides or outline, connect with resources. Create as an Opt-in pages so you can capture names, emails, etc. and build your email database.

I mentioned earlier in this post about the 6 Rules of Effective Presentations, that Michael and Michele told of SEVEN Rules.  One of the MOST IMPORTANT rules they started with before getting into the six rules was this:

“Write out the presentation first.  Decide what you are going to say, THEN create the slides.”

I can’t encourage you enough to listen to the audio podcast in the link above.  This is a great lesson on preparing great slide presentations.

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