Tips for Creating the Perfect PowerPoint Presentation

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Creation and presentation of the perfect PowerPoint presentation (PPPP or Quadruple P) is always the Holy Grail for any health care professional, no matter if you’re presenting informally among a few peers or formally during Grand Rounds.  Since it can be a formidable task, we’ve assembled some helpful tips to ensure that your PowerPoint presentation falls nothing short of a home run.

Keep the title long, the topic uninteresting.  A really long boring title gets us yearning for interest.  It’s like when you eat a bag of unsalted potato chips: there has to be a salted one in here at some point.


perfect PowerPoint presentation
An example of a perfect first slide

Ideal length is two hours.  Remember: we have nothing else to do.

Shoot for no fewer than 100 slides.  There is nothing your audience wants more than a blitzkrieg of slides to their eyeballs.  You know that scene in A Clockwork Orange when Alex DeLarge is subjected to experimental aversion therapy and he absolutely can’t tolerate the barrage?  That’s what you’re shooting for.

Use a small font and write an infinite amount on each slide.  The human brain is an amazing thing.  So be sure to challenge us: we will absolutely memorize all 4,000 words on any given slide, especially if you give us only 5-8 seconds to process it.

Just read everything to us.  We really do want you to read word for word everything you have written on that PowerPoint.  Don’t improvise, don’t paraphrase in simpler terms; just read it.  It’s like a bedtime story.  Bedtime stories are classics.  Don’t change them.

No pictures, please.  Our eyes are meant to process words, not pictures.  To make sure we understand everything you read to us, we want to read along too.  Pictures just get in the way.  A picture might be worth a thousand words but we want to read every single one of those words ourselves.

Stay monotone.  There is no reason to keep us engaged with a melodic speaking voice, all it does it make us nauseous, like we’re on a rollercoaster.  Keep it robotic so we can really hone in on what we want to do: read all that text.

With a laser pointer, circle everything on your slides like a patient having a seizure.  This is a great way to supplement your presentation.  The moment you inaccurately circle something with a shaky hand is the moment your entire audience will have an epiphany.  Happens every time.  And don’t worry, the shaking is never distracting.

Never end the talk with pictures of your family or your pets.  It’s a big mistake because it creates the illusion that you are a human being.  You are not and we are not human beings.  It always bears reminder: we are cogs in a machine and we keep going until we die or burnout, whichever happens first.

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