Course Outcome

This web-based presentation design course will:

  • Suggest a framework for planning a presentation.
  • Offer ideas for getting content right before creating slides.
  • Share best practices for creating strong narratives.

Course Overview


I put a lot of work into those slides, so I kept them. In hindsight, they probably didn’t fit. I added the footnote, then I took it out, then I put it back in.

I have six weeks of my life tied up in this deck. It’s causing me a lot of stress, and for what? I thought I was presenting what they wanted.

But by the end, I knew I missed the target. I wish I had seen it coming. Maybe I could have done something.


Sound familiar? There a lot of smart people creating a lot of presentations that could be better with a few simple best practices, and this web-based course introduces them.

The program begins with a discussion about audience and audiences. Rarely are they completely homogenous, and rarely do they need the same things. Knowing what’s important to each before a deck’s creation will almost always result in a better end product.

Once armed with the answer to “who,” the next question is “why.” Are you presenting to inform, persuade, request a decision, or something else? The better you are at understanding your why, the easier it will be for you to determine “what,” to include and what to exclude for various audiences.

“Where” is the next piece of the puzzle. If a speaker will accompany your presentation, it’s going to look different than a deck that exists solely as a document. Before you draft slide one, you need to understand where your presentation will happen.

Once you’ve established who, why, what, and where, you must determine “when.” When means how long do you have to present, and when is the presentation due? If you’ve got an hour and a month, what you produce is going to look very different than one you might create with a week and only 20 minutes to make your point.

Even with good thinking and a lot of upfront legwork, the wrong “how” can mean the difference between success and failure. This final module looks at best practices for quickly organizing information, finding a narrative, and creating slides that make sense.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Identify their audience(s).
  • Articulate the purpose of their presentations.
  • Target information at the right level.
  • Address a mixed audience.
  • Explain how a deck’s use should influence content and design choices.
  • Design to a timeline.
  • Quickly organize information.
  • Chunk content.
  • Find a narrative.
  • Follow a one-story-per-slide rule.
  • Edit before investing a lot of time on any given slide.
  • Design better charts.
  • Create cleaner slides.
  • Leverage hyperlinks and other tools to build in on-the-fly customization.

Program Modules

  • Who: Knowing Your Audience
  • Why: Choosing a Direction
  • What: Deciding What to Include Based on Who and Why
  • Where: Making Design Choices Based on Your Deck’s Future
  • When: Working Toward Realistic Timelines
  • How: Following Best Practices

By the end of this training course, participants should have a fundamental understanding of strong presentation design and tools they can use to streamline the process.