LEGAL Practice

Presentation Deck Tips

Creating a successful presentation deck involves more than just throwing together a bunch of slides. Check out these essential tips to make your PowerPoint presentation stand out and leave a lasting impression on your audience.
  • Joe Regalia
Most of us present to others at least occasionally, and the infamous slide deck is usually the first step to getting ready. Perhaps you use your organization’s standard slides or have a go-to set of PowerPoint templates. Whatever type of slide deck you are, there are a few tips to try out:

Consider sending presentation materials to your audience ahead of time.

Make sure to add alt text for all important images. Alt text allows people who can't see the image, whether because of disability or technical problems, to get a brief description of what they’re missing.
Consider other ways you can offload work from your audience ahead of time. Are there materials or resources you can send over before the presentation so everyone comes to the presentation with the same background context?

Use best practices for slides, which generally include:

  • Giving each slide a thesis title, if possible. In other words, what do you want readers to take from the slide or segment?
  • Keeping text big (40pt for in-person meetings and at least 24pt for virtual meetings—this will also help with limiting the text on the screen).
  • Using a master slide (or a similar feature in other tools) to ensure all slide titles are consistently sized and use the same font.
  • Using contrasting colors to make text or images pop easier for audiences.
  • Sticking to a single big point per slide, with (at most) a few subparts, each including a short phrase if possible.
  • Cutting out weird animations. A little movement is fine, but intense, old-school animations will distract.
  • Using high-quality images. Clip art and poor-quality stock images will kill your credibility.
  • Having a Plan B in case you have tech issues.
  • If you have more than a few words on the screen, read them (or give your audience a chance to read them) before competing with your voice. Some folks disagree with this point, but talking at people while they are reading your slide is silly.

Consider leaving PowerPoint in the dust.

There is a trove of presentation tech options out there. Our favorite at is, a fully automated presentation deck builder that works so well it’s scary (and no, they don’t pay us to say that!). But there are other options out there too. And if you are a die-hard PowerPoint fan, consider updating your templates using some of the awesome libraries out there, like this one.

If presenting virtually, use best practices.

That means enabling closed captions, using settings like auto-muting so that feedback sound doesn’t interfere with the presentation, leaving a few extra minutes at the start so folks can address tech issues, keeping your background clear, using a blur, or virtual one, and keeping presentations shorter and building in more breaks than when in person!
Joe Regalia co-founder Joe Regalia combines his experience as both practitioner and professor to create exciting new ways to teach legal skills.  Learn more about Joe

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