A VC friend told me that she asked a startup to stop the pitch presentation because of nauseating animated slide transitions (true story). No, the pitch did not stop, it just continued without the slide show. I don’t think it cost the startup a lot of points, except maybe a small doubt about judgement when presenting to investors, strategic partners, or major customers.

Big sweeping animations for the sake of animations to “add a little sparkle” to your presentations have the opposite effect:

  • It puts the audience in a non-serious “giggle” mode when you want them to be dead serious about your business

  • They take time, especially in slide transitions, “oh, here it comes again”, just when you are about to make that killer statement that will win over the audience. Also, quickly going back to slide 3 with the team bios will be delayed by 5 flipping slide transitions.

So never use animations? It depends.

For very complicated diagrams it can be useful to build up a slide slowly, adding complexity step by step. In these cases, I rely on “animations”, but usually do not implement them as animations. Rather, I duplicate slides and add additional elements on each slide. The audience does not notice the difference, my deck can still be sent as a PDF, and the lazy VC who does not bother to engage the PowerPoint slide show model will still get the message.

And of course, if you are Steve Jobs. That iPad dropping in between an iPhone and a Mac using the “anvil” effect worked pretty well.

Photo by Roven Images on Unsplash

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to daily updates about presentation design via email? Just blog posts, no spam, or you can follow Jan on Twitter to never miss a thing.