As some of you may know im a big fan of Presentation Zen and try to follow some of the ideas in my talks. Today I was reminded of a few lessons I should have thought about beforehand:
No matter how cool your slides may look with that subtle gray-in-black backdrop and the translucent, intersecting areas - don't rely on it. Always keep a second set of slides handy that is optimized for bright ambient lights if you can't check the location beforehand! It's not important how it looks on your screen or in your controlled environment - it's import how it transports your message during the presentation. Therefore: bright coulours and high contrast for all unknown environments (at least as a backup).
Although I believe that a presentation is not the set of slide (i.e. you can never mail a presentation to someone - you can only mail the slides) I tend to put some effort in slide-design and so they ought to look good.
The other point is file size - since I converted to the Mac I tend to adopt a somewhat disrespectful attitude regarding the size of elements I use in a presentation - that's allright as long as the main point of the slides is to support the talk. As soon as I want to distribute them I could be running into trouble - for example when a simple 37-slide slideshow results in an almost 10MB pdf...
regarding the talk itself ... see next post