How do I know if my presentation sucks?

This article is part of our Slidebean Academy series, a weekly digest of presentation tips and skills. You're welcome to subscribe here. 

This article is part of our Slidebean Academy series, a weekly digest of presentation tips and skills. You're welcome to subscribe here

We’ve all been victims of awful presentations. But how to know if we are perpetrators of such terrible crime?

Let me give it to you straight!



...Your deck is 100+ slides

120+ is considered a capital sin so if your presentation has more than 100 it probably sucks big time. Why? Cause no one in its right mind can endure that. After 60+ slides you can rest assured you’ve lost them.

In presentations, size matters BIG TIME. The shorter, the better, every single time.

You’ll never hear anybody complaining your presentation was too short. There’s no hard rules here, but anything under 20 slides is great!

...Your slides have too much text,

 the presentation SUCKS. That’s all I have to say about that.

...Your presentation has background music,

odds are not looking good for you. Background music is just weird, and fails to work properly almost every time. Reduce the risk of technical issues by avoiding it, and anyway: music? really? Beethoven's 9th playing on the back while you give your Demo Day pitch is a little too Clockwork Orange. If, for some reason, you must use music for a specific part of your presentation, set it up separately.


Related read: Presentation Design Inspiration: Epic Slide Ideas


...You have text that flies in, jumps out, rains in, spirals out, etc.

your presentation definitely sucks. The simpler your transitions, the better (fading is probably the best choice). Also, save transitions for slides, not single elements. It’ll save you tons of work, and your deck will look way more polished and professional.


… You use clip arts of figures solving a puzzle,

stock photos of people in suits looking at the camera, or shaking hands, or pretty much anything that shows up in Google Images after searching the word “business”, your presentation needs to BURN. For the sake of design, and in the hope of a better world, use decent images in your slides.


...You use outdated templates

that look like they belong to a computer history museum, your presentation needs-existing-not. Update your presentation software for crying out loud! There are amazing new tools like Slidebean that use epic and up-to-date templates, so you can rock your presentation without much effort.


...You recycle old presentations without proper editing,

your presentation will certainly suck. Why? Either you’ll leave new content out, or worse, leave stuff in that shouldn’t be there anymore. A poor editorial process will result in a story that doesn’t make much sense anymore, and feels like an erratic train of thoughts scattered all over your slides. There’s  absolutely nothing wrong with reusing your work, as long as you do your homework and properly adapt it for the new use case/public.


Related read: 5 Easy Ways to Dramatically Improve your Slides

...But if (and this is ONE BIG IF)

you avoid any of these unforgivable presentation sins, The Force is strong with you!

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