Slide decks are where information goes to die

Chris Norris
2 min readApr 19, 2022

Some of the most excruciating and wasteful time I’ve spent in my career is listening to presentations.

Here are my Golden Rules for effective presenting

  1. Assume no-one will ever look at the deck again (very likely true) — what 2 or 3 key things do you want people to remember or understand? Focus on those
  2. Get the timing right — 3 minutes per slide is a good allocation to allow for the presentation at an appropriate pace, and Q&A e.g. if you have 30 minutes, produce no more than 10 slides. Don’t be that person that chops off, or rushes through, the last 30% of their preso due to lack of time. Think people will go back and read them? See point 1.
  3. Consider your audience — most audiences are broad in terms of having context or domain knowledge about what you are talking about. Find ways to communicate your key points without relying on lots of context/knowledge.
  4. Make your slides visual whenever possible — if you have more than 20 words on a slide your audience is not going to plough through it. Lots of detail is counterproductive to your audience’s ability to pay attention and retain anything
  5. What are you adding by presenting? — if you are not complementing or adding to the content on the slides it should probably be a document that folks just read. A couple of things to think about :
    (1) what is the call to action? What do you want from the audience?
    (2) what emotion you want your audience to feel? Excitement, happiness, intrigue, pride, gratitude, surprise? These are the feelings that will engage an audience and what your presentation should try to invoke



Chris Norris

Engineering leader for startups — 4 exits and counting. Fascinated with startups, software, and the people around them. Founder at