Saturday, June 10, 2006

"I know you can't read this at the back of the room"

Whenever I hear a presenter use those words, I cringe - and audiences every day in presentation rooms around the world cringe when they hear those words. In most cases it is followed by, "so I'll read it to you". If you knew the audience wouldn't be able to read it, why did you put it up there!?! Selecting a font size that is too small is one of the most annoying things a presenter can do when using PowerPoint (the #2 annoyance in my survey last year - click here for the full survey results). Recently I reviewed a presentation where the slides contained 10 point text. How in the world do you think the audience will be able to read it when you can barely read it on your own screen? And then I just saw an ad for a projector that touts its ability to clearly project text as small as 7 point. This isn't something they should be promoting, they should be embarrassed that someone spent time designing the technology to do it. The minimum font size you should use for text on your slides is 20 point. I prefer 24-32 point for even more clarity. By using a reasonable font size, you also force yourself to use shorter bullet points instead of paragraphs on the slides. Remember, it is about clarity for the audience, not packing your PowerPoint slides with more text so you can just read the slides to the audience.


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