Size matters!

Here’s another true story, possibly even an Oscar candidate in the “wrong answer to a good question” category.

One of my colleagues – let’s call him John – was recently presenting at an industry seminar. With more than 200 experts and potential customers in the audience, the speaker had a great stage for promoting our company’s vision and portfolio. The event turned out to be a big success and John’s message was well received.

Actually, the content of his talk was outstanding. But, during the after-event debrief, there was this one comment about “too much text on the slides and too small font sizes.” As I was sitting in the back of the room, I can acknowledge that a pair of binoculars would indeed have been a good thing to bring along.


When confronted with the poor readability of his visuals, John’s reaction was unexpected and wrong:

“Well, when we come back next year, we should probably ask the organizers to install a larger projection screen…”

In my humble opinion, a more straightforward – and easier solution – might have been to put fewer words on the slides, and to increase the font size of the remaining text. And to follow Guy Kawasaki’s advice:

“The reason people use a small font is twofold: first, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing. Total bozosity. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well.”

Size matters, John, also for your presentation fonts!

2 thoughts on “Size matters!

  1. Pingback: B.Y.O.C. | b2b storytelling

  2. John’s response was priceless, and made me laugh out loud!

    Mind you, it does remind me of some offices where the (unwise) trend is to use a flat-screen TV on the wall. My mind says “Many folk won’t be able to read most slides on those!

    I recommend no more than about 15 words per slide (and that post quotes authors Nancy Duarte, Garr Reynolds, and Jerry Weissman in support). With so few words, there’s room to make them BIG.

    (BTW, on Guy’s 10-20-30 rule, Phil Waknell has an old post with photos showing that sometimes you need way more than 30 points – see the pictures near the end.)

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