Slides for Presentations and Slides for Handouts

Earlier today we put on a program connecting executives from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with health IT startups from the Atlanta Tech Village. Seven startups had 15 minutes each — five minutes to present and 10 minutes of Q&A — followed by lunch at the end. Most of the presenters used slides with limited product demos. While the event was a success and everyone received value, five out of seven startups used slides on the big screens that were designed as handouts, not for presentations.

Here are a few thoughts on slides for presentations, as different from slides for handouts:

  • Slides should have minimal text (I like to have no more than 10 words)
  • Font sizes shouldn’t be smaller than half the oldest age in the audience (e.g. if someone in the audience is 60, the font size shouldn’t be smaller than 30)
  • Tell a compelling story while still getting to the value proposition quickly
  • Make the ‘ask’ at the end of the presentation
  • Presentations should be rehearsed to fit the allotted time (every presenter went too long)

The next time you open Keynote on your Mac, ask yourself if it’s for presentations or for handouts.

What else? What are some other thoughts on slides for presentations as different from slides for handouts?

5 thoughts on “Slides for Presentations and Slides for Handouts

  1. Mr. Cummings, I am one of your many fans out here in the virtual universe and I just wanted to say that I admire your knowledge of tech and the succinct ways in which you present valuable information. On the possibility that you may have dynamic ideas for scaling a virtual peace museum, in advance of a bricks-and-mortar institution, we’d be honored to connect:

  2. DC,

    You continue to amaze! I was just discussing this with my team this week. Love the Font Size comment. Classic. Hope your summer is starting well. Best to the family!

    *Irv Grossman* | VP, Supply Chain Operations | *CHAINalytics* 2500 Cumberland Pkwy | Suite 550 | Atlanta, GA 30339 Office: (770) 373-4812 | Mobile: (770) 365-2000

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