Let's End the Really Bad Power Point

Kara Powell | Oct 31, 2011

OK, I have a confession: I really like Power Point (and other similar slide-type programs like Keynote). I know some people think it’s overused, and they are probably right, but I still like to use it. And I like it when others use it.

But lately I’ve been around a lot of really bad Power Point. So I decided to do a bit of a brush-up on some good Power Point rules of thumb. I skimmed a book on the topic, and the reason I’m not telling you the name of the book is because it wasn’t all that helpful. But the book did repost a blog by Seth Godin on the topic, which was probably the best part of the book.

I’ve read this Seth Godin blog multiple times already, but it’s still got some good reminders. What stands out the most to me is his rule of thumb that we should never have more than 6 words on a slide. Ever.

I know I break that rule sometimes. I’ll probably break it this week in fact. And you will probably see me break that rule. But I think it’s a great “best practice” to shoot for. Power Point isn’t a way we “tell” the main points our talks; it’s a way we “show” the heart and feelings that motivate us, and should hopefully motivate our audiences also.

What Power Point “no nos” drive you particularly crazy? What other presentation guidelines have helped you and/or do you wish others would follow?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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