Most people know HOW to build a presentation … but that’s only half the story. If you want your presentations to be clear and effective, the best thing you can do is forget about the default settings and templates, along with any of your own preconceptions about what makes a good presentation.

  • Templates and backgrounds – adding style or showing you up?
  • Bullet-points – are they for your audience or for you?
  • Animations, twirling text and visual pyrotechnics – clever or distracting?

In this event, we’ll explore the best practices for creating informative, engaging and most importantly memorable presentations.

Date and Time

28 May 2009, 20:00 – 21:30


Elaine Giles


When it comes to presentations, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly. Elaine started proceedings with an explanation of the concept of an extreme makeover and then outlined her personal philosophy for creating powerful and memorable slides.

Most of her presentation focussed on the best way to present different types of content beginning with the title slide (well they say you only get seconds to make a good first impression). “Death by Text” dealt with how to minimise the amount of text on a slide yet maximise the impact. Adding images and video to slide presents its own problems and Elaine gave us the benefit of her experiences and expertise in this area.

The review wouldn’t be complete without an illustrative example. Elaine displayed the following slide and asked the question “what is this slide trying to say?”, “what is the primary reason it’s there?”

Presentations Extreme Makeover

Only the creator of the slide could possibly know the answer as the slide is a complete confusion of information. In this case it was that in April 2009, Firefox had a 47% share of the browser market. As an Excel expert, I would, certainly prior to attending this event, have designed my slide similar to this.

Why? Because it’s the quickest way to create a pie chart. I may or may not have included the table of data, but, and I openly admit, I’d have chosen the 3D pie chart because “it looks better than a 2D one”.

Elaine then pointed out that often less is more and displayed this slide:

Presentations Extreme Makeover

I have to agree that it has more of an impact and comes straight to the point, leading to no confusion as to the message you’re trying to get across.

Finally, having covered how to make an impact with the first slide, we learned how to also ensure a memorable ending to your presentation.

Review by Mike Thomas