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Anyone who is working on developing a personal brand probably gives a number of presentations and they want people to talk about them. Tweets and blogs are the best measure of the success of a modern talk.

A few months ago, I decided to dig into some data about why people share content from presentations and how marketers can leverage those motivations to deliver more contagious talks. Below are 5 rules I found that will help you design more contagious slides.

No bullets

Bullet points make it really easy for slides to become jumbles of words and ideas. By eliminating bullet points on our slides altogether, we can force ourselves to simplify our message and focus on the most important and shareable points.

One thought per slide

Each slide should contain only one thought. This allows the presenter to deliver a Tweetable sound bite and discuss it. It also allows the audience time to share the idea if they want to without worrying about missing the next point.

No noise

Images should support each slide’s main point, not distract from it. When choosing imagery (especially stock photography) use caution and opt for simple images, and if you are laying text over it, be sure there is enough contrast to make the text readable at a distance. Your audience is going to Tweet about the words you’re saying and showing, not the images.

The 30 point rule

I’m borrowing this rule from Guy Kawasaki, but don’t use fonts on your slides smaller than 30 points. This will ensure that not only will your slides be very readable, even at the back of the room, but it will also force you to tighten up all the text you’ll be using. Text on slides should be under 140 characters and be easy to understand even when taken out of the context of the presentation.

Visual calls to action

As with all forms of marketing, calls-to-action are extremely important. You need to tell your audience exactly what you want them to do. In designing a presentation, we can include somewhat subtle visual reminders of what we want people to do. I find a hashtag or @ username on a Tweetable slide does this nicely.


Dan Zarrella is an award-winning social, search, and viral marketing scientist and author of the O’Reilly Media book “The Social Media Marketing Book“. He has a background in web development and combines his programming capabilities with a passion for social marketing to study social media behavior from a data-backed position and teach marketers scientifically grounded best practices.