What people really mean when they say “Beautiful slides!”

People’s perception of truth plays a critical role in how seriously they will consider your message and ultimately, in the decision they’ll make about your idea, product or company. What do we know about truth and can we anticipate how the audience will perceive our presentation? It turns out the answer to that question is linked to the concept of beauty.

Beauty is truth

My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful; but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful”.
Hermann Weyl
mathematician and philosopher (1885 –1955)


There is nothing like a killer presentation when it comes to successful fund-raising for your startup. According to seasoned venture capitalist Bill Gurley, there are at least 6 arguments behind this hard truth. My favorite is number 3: numeracy.

Startups are businesses, and businesses run on numbers. The one thing your presentation should not be is numberless. It’s nearly impossible to convey complex numerical arguments with only words. Charts, graphs, and tables are orders of magnitude more efficient at this task.

Have you noticed? The most successful entrepreneurs are all intensely focused on the numbers.

Read more on business presentations.

Have you noticed? Rarely do we have a meeting without slides these days. As soon as we have an idea, we rush to create a lengthy PowerPoint about it. We use slides as a crutch for our story, stuffing them with all sorts of information we might want to use to make our point. As a result, business conversations turn into lengthy sales pitches. Have our organizations lost the ability to discuss ideas without slides?

Don’t get me wrong, I love making PowerPoint presentations for my clients and I love attending an inspiring presentation accompanied by visually arresting slides. And it’s not the fault of the software, either. Keynote or Prezi would not do a better job than PowerPoint. The problem is how we tend to use presentation software, which gets in the way of communicating ideas.

Focus on sharpening and sharing your idea, not on making slides about it. We, your audience, will love you for that.

Read more on how to communicate ideas that will spread.