7 things you already know about creating presentations. Or do you?


First, let me describe one of my pet peeves:

I’ve signed up for an educational technology conference. I’m going to be there with 5 of my colleagues. We’re planning our divide and conquer strategy since there are so many amazing ideas out there that we want to see and experience them ALL!
I walk into my first session which starts off with a great slide with information on the presenter, including photo, and how to get in touch with them: twitter handle, link to the slideshare, email address, etc. Then comes the next slide – a beautifully crafted (not) blur of words that fills the screen that they proceed to talk about for the next 15 – 20 minutes. Or more…

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Use more images and less text.I’ll summarize the main points here:OK – so it’s usually not that bad, but come on #edtech people, you know better! My conference high has turned into a devastating low, because I have FOWO (see below) and because most of the people out there have not taken the awesome presentation that Ken Shelton has delivered.

  1. Don’t use the default settings – create your own mark.
  2. Effective presentations are also good stories. Humor helps, as well as a beginning, middle and end.
  3. One concept per slide. It’s not like you have to pay for using extra slides – give your audience the chance to digest just one thing at a time – the brain, technically, cannot multitask!
  4. Never EVER just read the slides. If the slides were meant to be read, it would be a word document, not a slide presentation. Also, use images on EVERY slide (they should take up about 80% of your screen real estate) to emphasize your message. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
  5. The font you use says something about your message – play with font size and color to emphasize points. Use sans-serif for presentations; examples are Futura, Rockwell and Optima. NEVER use Comic Sans.
  6. We’re well into the 21st Century; don’t print or photocopy your presentation – share it online instead.
  7. Any tool (Prezi, Powepoint, Slideshare, Google Presentation, etc…) will do, it’s the utilization of the tool that is key!
Do you have tips and tricks for creating amazing and engaging presentations? Please share!

Adnan Iftekhar


  1. Thanks for sharing this–and when I saw your first slide up there, I wasn’t surprised, and actually thought it could have been real. Telling, I suppose. The crazy thing is, we’ve all sat through those types of presentations, and we know how much more interesting the visually rich ones are. Wonder why it’s so tough for folks to make the leap and harness that power when they create their own. The more visuals, the better–as long as they’re thought-provoking and relevant!

  2. I love this TED Talk about how to avoid “Death by Powerpoint” by David Phillips. I share part of it with my students when learning about making good presentations. https://youtu.be/Iwpi1Lm6dFo

  3. Chris Prevost

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am always looking for help on how to make my lessons/presentations more engaging for my students.