Attempting to have slides serve both as projected visuals and as stand-alone handouts makes for bad visuals and bad documentation. Yet, this is a typical, acceptable approach. PowerPoint (or Keynote) is a tool for displaying visual information, information that helps you tell your story, make your case, or prove your point. PowerPoint is a terrible tool for making written documents, that’s what word processors are for.

– argues Garr Reynolds in a post on his blog, Presentation Zen.  Lots more good thinking to be found there, including some splendid excoriation (with illustrations):

When you are one of the most powerful business figures in the world, it’s better if your presentation visuals do not resemble a cereal box.


  1. All very good advice and in itself easy to digest and act upon. The difficult bit is that presentational methods and tools are so embedded in this organisation that following these theories means that you will deliberately make yourself stand out (hopefully as good) but stand out from the crowd anyway. It is as much about having faith in yourself as it is in adopting better practice.

  2. Yes, the organisational style is very conservative, but that’s a terrific opportunity. The faith comes from the belief that this is a better approach at least as much as in our ability to deliver it – in effect it means that you don’t have to be great at doing presentations to be noticeably more impressive and more memorable than almost everybody else.

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