Some guy in a suit is yawning, another guy in the back is asleep, a woman in the front is reading notes, another looks at her nails and everyone else is checking their phone.

And you….you’re standing at the front of the room, nervous and sweaty, trying to get their attention.

You are frustrated and you don’t know whether to speed up or slow down.

Is it you, the subject matter or is it your PowerPoint?

What could you have done to be more effective?

You think maybe you need to add a little humour… tell a few jokes…but then again, maybe the topic can’t be made light of.

All this to say that if it’s you I can’t really tell you how to change. That’s a whole different ball of wax. (I’m not exactly sure why there is a ball of wax, for now that’s not important.) If it’s how you deliver your presentation, well, that’s a subject for another blog. But if it is your powerpoint presentation than I can help.

In fact, I can provide you with two killer tips for powerful PowerPoint presentations. All you have to do is follow these two simple rules when you create and design your material and your PowerPoint presentations will look better… your audience will be more interested or at least more engaged.


An easy rule of thumb. One idea, one slide, two minutes. It’s the most basic formula. 1+1=2. Simple to remember, easier to use.

When you create content heavy slides with more than one idea per slide, your audience is unable to determine what message you want to deliver. Your slide is high in noise and low in message.

Your audience is thinking to themselves … and the point is? The result: Yawning and nail inspection.

Ideally, you need to design your presentation so that you spend approximately 2 – 3 minutes per side. Yes, that means you must know your subject. Any more than that, your audience will get bored and without even a roll of the dice you can go back to the beginning of this article.


I can’t count the number of times I have seen slides with far too many words. Oh yes I can count.

More than 36 is too many.

Slides are there to support your comments, to act as reinforcement and to keep you on track with your presentation; they are not there to chronicle your entire speech. No, they don’t replace the index cards of the past. I know we all hate presenting…but If you’re reading this that means your career is dependent on presentations at some level… so get over it. Sorry, I digress… back to the presentation and the number of words.

There are various rules for the number of words per slide but one of the easiest to remember is 6 x 6. That means 6 bullets, 6 words for a total of 36 words. Some will even say 5 x 5. You decide which makes sense to you. Again another simple formula. 6×6=350rm5x5=25.

If you must have a slide with more words, choose a few well chosen words for your slide and consider putting additional information in the Appendix that you leave behind. The audience can read it at their convenience…and without yawning in your face.


These are simple rules but rarely will you find anyone who follows them. I am not sure why people don’t follow them because the rules are easy. But as I always say, there are three types of people in this world, those who can count and those who can’t.