Because presentations are a combination of words, images and live delivery, details vary wildly from organization to organization, industry culture to industry culture.

For instance, presenting to world-renowned physicists is probably different than pitching your startup on Sand Hill Road.

The guidelines you’ll find here are accepted best practices but you should observe the culture of your audience and setting to refine your approach.

We might suggest asking that your audience hold all questions for the formal Q&A at the end of the presentations. But if you’re presenting to a CEO who has 5,000 people reporting to her you’re probably going to be peppered with questions from the start. And you won’t be able to push them off until the end.

Likewise, we encourage simple, clean slide design that focuses the audience on your delivery. But some work cultures use extremely detailed slides. A cloud software application’s architecture isn’t going to fit into a 60 second slide with five bullets. If you get a job at Amazon you’ll no doubt know that Amazon doesn’t do PowerPoint. At all.

Let your audience, and your audience culture, drive your design and approach.

Know You Audience