top of page

“You probably can't see this” and 2 other mistakes you are probably making with your presentations

Have you ever said or heard during a presentation “you probably can’t see this very well”?

Do you find yourself subscribing to the 6 X 6 model of designing slides (6 words, 6 lines, and a title)? Do your 6 X 6 slides act as your script during your presentation?

Mistake #1: Using font that is too small or graphics that are unclear

I was at a conference recently and the presenter said those exact words: “you probably can’t see this very well”. And she was right. I couldn’t see it very well. I started focusing on what I couldn’t see and stopped paying attention to the presenter.

TIP #1: Make sure your font is large enough for the room (I like to start with font size of 40 and go up or down from there). In a similar vein, make sure your images are clear, too. If you ever hear yourself saying “you probably can’t see this very well”, make a pact with yourself to fix your slides so you never, ever have to say this again during a presentation!

Mistake #2: Subscribing to the 6 X 6 (or 4 X 4 or 5 X 5) philosophy of slide design

The 6 X 6 philosophy for designing slides seems to be common in colleges and universities. I once overheard a colleague in the next cubicle tout her 6 X 6 slide designing knowledge that she learned during college as a Communications major. She was essentially arguing with the marketing professionals in the firm that she knew better. No! Stop the 6 X 6 madness.

I’ve found when people use that many words on a slide, I either pay attention to the slide, or I ignore the slide and pay attention to the speaker. PowerPoint can be such a robust tool for aiding in your story telling, but 6 X 6 is one of those retro 90s ideas that should