For Awesome Presentation Graphics: KISS BETR
You, too, can learn to KISS BETR FAST. Remembering this acronym phrase
will help you create powerful, effective presentation graphics.
by Quentin Steele
KISS BETR FAST
- KISS, of course, is "Keep It Simple, Speakers!". Get
rid of those busy, comprehensive slides that cause sensory overload.
- BETR means "Big Enough To Read." With a little
planning, you can make every word on your slides readable to the entire audience.
- FAST stands for "First-class Art,
Spelling, & Typography". Add a professional touch with upscale clip-art,
spell-checking, and typographers punctuation.
KISS ("Keep it Simple,
Simplify, simplify, simplify! Weve all seen slides
with too many words, too many pictures, and too busy a background. A complex slide without
focus steals the audiences attention from you, the speaker. Start with a compelling,
high-quality graphic and use just enough words to support your point, usually no more than
six bullets with six words per bullet. Plan video and audio segments carefully, so they
complement, instead of compete with your message. A good slide will give your audience a
brief visual break from you (attractive though you are!), reinforce your message, then get
their eyes back on you.
BETR ("Big Enough to
If youve been telling audiences, "I know you cant
read this in the back!," its time to retire your favorite apology! You can make
all your slides readable by enlarging the projection size and by choosing readable fonts,
sizes, and colors.
checking the dimensions of the room and the size of the screen. Otherwise, you may end up
with a tiny six-foot screen in a 150-foot room, which makes any slide quite unreadable!
Before your program starts, enhance readability by ensuring that the projected image fills
the entire screen. Ask to move the projector stand to maximize the image size, even if
that means rearranging chairs.
When selecting fonts, remember that the most
legible fonts are also the most basic. Plainer fonts like Times New Roman and Arial are
actually quite striking on a well-designed slide. If you opt for a decorative font (the
"fancy" fonts we love so much), take extra steps to ensure readability. The font
size you choose depends on font style and projection size. Generally, Roman (serif) fonts
(like Times New Roman) should be bigger than sans-serif fonts (like Arial), and decorative
fonts need to be larger still. A strict rule of thumb is therefore impossible, but avoid
font sizes less than 18 points in a large conference room, and less than 36 points in a
ballroom or auditorium. Also, try using bold type for everything on the slide. Individual
words can still be highlighted with a different color.
Choose text colors carefully, based on background
color. Yellow, for example, is striking on a black background, but worthless on white. Red
can be strong or weak, depending on the intensity. Dark backgrounds work best for 35mm
slides or computer projections, while light backgrounds are typical for overhead
transparencies. The templates that come with your software give you a head start on color
selection, but be careful: some of them are too busy and gaudy for professional use.
Once youve selected font, size, and color,
make one sample slide and project it in a large room. Check readability and color. If you
dont like it, "take a sad slide and make it BETR!"
FAST ("First-class Art,
Spelling & Typography")
Meticulous attention to art, spelling, and typography whisper the
message, "I am a professional!" First, consider your clip art. That time-honored
art that ships with PowerPoint has become familiar and repetitive to experienced
audiences. Consider buying new, high-quality clip art that adds style and wakes people up.
A misspelling on a slide takes your audience on a mental detour.
Misspelled words are so easy to avoid! Invest five minutes to spell-check your
Your slides will stand as a proud companion to
your presentation when you simplify, ensure readability, and add professional touches.
Learn to KISS BETR FAST, and see what a difference it makes!