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August 09, 2009


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Rafael Martins

Hi, Lynn. (Since Portuguese is my native language, it always bugged me the "Hi John Doe," greeting people in my Company use, but after your post on email greetings I can use a comma with no guilt, thanks! Now, back to the main point...)
"Presentations: less is more", what a great topic. My Company is almost exclusively formed by engineers and -- boy! -- these fellas like to clog up the communication channel with more information than needed!
Thank you for the "accompanying report" suggestion, this should be a rule-of-thumb in presentations.
Keep up the good work, I receive your posts via RSS and I cannot help but stopping what I am doing to learn a bit more on how to improve my English.

Kind regards,



Yes! Less is more when it comes to PowerPoint presentations.

Your suggestion that "the place for more...is the accompanying report or paper" is a revelation. In my experience with both presenting and being presented to, the PowerPoint presentation too often IS the report. I think that’s why we so commonly see slide after slide with bullet point after bullet point of lengthy text, which the presenter simply reads aloud to the audience. The presenter may have compiled good information, but, like you said, the details belong in a written document.

The PowerPoint presentation should serve as a highlight reel that enhances the content of a well-written document. My rule of thumb going forward: WRITE FIRST. And if my document cannot be enhanced with PowerPoint, I’ll just share the document with the appropriate audience and save everyone the tedium of a pointless presentation.

I'm so pleased that you brought this up, Lynn. Your thoughts on PowerPoint were just the nudge I needed to shift my perspective.


Oh bless you, Lynn, for another compelling blog post. My pet peeves are people using far too many sound effects and/or animations in a presentation. One starts to concentrate more on that than what is being presented. Another thing is to please avoid standing there and reading the slides to your audience. Nine times out of ten, the audience can read for themselves. Really. Just....argh!


Wow! I believe I have struck a nerve. Thank you, Rafael, JJB, and Khat, for your strong positive reactions.

JJB, I like your idea that the PP presentation is a reel that enhances (or highlights) the content of a well-written document. Well said!

Let's all encourge others to write the report first and then create a presentation that focuses on the essential message.


Hi Lynn,
Great topic as always.
I am forwarding this article to all my coworkers and friends.


I love this post by Guy Kawasaki on the 10/20/30 rule:



Thanks for sharing, Clare. I love it too. And I appreciate Kawasaki's example of selling one's ideas in a high-stakes situation. If that requires only 10 slides, what could require more?

Account Deleted

I agree. 4 x 4 is the rule I try to follow: four lines per point, and four points per slide.
With less on the slides, the audience will find time to look at the speaker, and her expression and emotion.

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