“It is more difficult to process information if it is coming at you both verbally and in written form at the same time” — John Sweller.

This book is to persuade people not to use bullet points in presentation. The slides, if used, shall be the support of the speaker, but not to replace the speaker. The slides alone shall tell nothing or otherwise, it is a bad presentation.

To create a presentation, is like to write. Brenda Ueland in her book “If You Want to Write” says the following keys for a creative writing:

  • Try but not afraid
  • Be pirate to get inspirations from elsewhere
  • Take an idling period to energize creative spirit
  • Enthusiasm to do that

Idling is productive because busyness kills creativity. Busyness is that uncomfortable feeling you have when you are feeling rushed, distracted, and a bit unfocused and preoccupied.

“Creative solutions require alonetime”
“Solitude is required for the unconscious to process and unravel problems.”
“Others inspire us information feed us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out, to emerge with new discoveries, to unearth original answers” — Ester Buchholz

When we are going to create a presentation, we have to consider the duration, venue, time, audience, purpose. But most importantly is to ask, what is the central point. That is the only one thing that the audience must remember.

To make some idea easy to remember, Chip & Dan Heath list the six principles of sticky ideas in their book “Made to Stick”:

  • Simplicity: If everything is important, nothing is important; if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority
  • Unexpectedness: Surprise attracts interest
  • Concreteness: No abstractions. Use real example with real things so that people can visualize.
  • Credibility: Visualize the terms but not to use cold data
  • Emotions: Use pictures to make people feel something
  • Stories: Story keeps memory

For example, the proverb “kill two birds with one stone” is concrete because it is visible. “Enough battery life to watch TV nonstop on your iPod during your next flight from San Francisco to New York” is also visible. These six principles make up “SUCCESs”

When preparing a presentation, the steps are:

  • Brainstorming on paper, think about the big picture
  • Identify the core, there is only one theme
  • Storyboarding off the computer
  • Build presentation using slide sorter view


  • Simplicity: Elimination and omission
  • Naturalness: Restraint is hard, complication and elaboration are easy. Do not overplay, do not over refine
  • Elegance: Less color, subdued and elegant use of color, less clutter.
  • Subtlety
  • Suggestive rather than descriptive or obvious
  • Empty space
  • Stillness and tranquility

Principles of design

  • Enhance signal to noise ratio
  • Picture superiority effect: Pictures are easier to remember
  • Make good use of empty space
  • Balance
  • Rule of thirds
  • Contrast (near/far, empty/filled, dark/light, cool/warm, serif/sans, bold/narrow, top/bottom, isolated/grouped)
  • Repetitions to make a unified look
  • Alignment
  • Proximity to organize things

Bibliographic data

   title = "Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery",
   author = "Garr Reynolds",
   publisher = "New Riders",
   year = "2008",
   library = "BPL New Utrecht",
   classification = "5.58",