skip navigation

Principles for Exciting Presentations

Our subject takes a lot of work to prepare, deliver, and understand. You might find yourself using a PowerPoint deck to get the message across. The following 3 principles (from 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations) are aimed at helping you design and craft your message for easy understanding.

Principle of Relevance

Make it just right. Effective communication provides just the right amount of information. Too little information can confuse, and too much information can overwhelm. We remember a message more easily if we have everything that we need and not too much of it.

Principle of Capacity Limitations

People can only remember a finite number of things in a single session. Consider mixing large amounts of text with concepts, images, or even music relevant to the point. Provide a map or structure the discussion as a narrative which can serve as a memory shorthand for the smaller points.

Principle of Salience

Big differences are easy to spot! Find ways to grab the attention of participants by cleanly separating content. Rather than 5 bullets or a paragraph of text, try providing only what can be digested in one minute, or provide clean pointers to different concepts.


  • Kosslyn, S. M. (2007). Clear & to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations. Oxford: Oup.
Reviewed: July 11th, 2016