Nov/Dec 2001

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The Web is hot, but it’s not the only place where you can use technology to wow prospects and clients. You can make a multimedia impact in a three-dimensional big-screen way with computerized presentations at seminars or clients’ offices. To get your creative juices flowing, here are just a few sample tips and tricks that legal professionals use when they take their presentations on the road.

I strongly recommend the "5 in 5" rule—no more than five points per slide, no more than five minutes per frame. The combination keeps the slides readable, the presentation coherent and the presenter more in control. It’s important to incorporate enough information so that if people get distracted during the presentation, they can figure out where you are; but don’t incorporate enough information that someone could pick up your packet before the presentation and know everything you’re going to say without hearing you.

Annette M. Duwell, Director of Marketing, Long Aldridge & Norman LLP

The biggest challenge of any presentation is to steer clear of humdrum graphics and wordy slides. When using PowerPoint, I find the most practical and effective way to get across a central theme is to scan actual documents into your hard drive. These scanned images can then be captured as pictures and pasted onto a slide within the presentation. You can crop the "picture" and expand its dimensions so that the text is legible within the scan. You also have the option of adding features such as animated arrows to highlight important areas of the scanned document within the presentation.

Nancy Hilliard Joyce, Client Relations/Marketing Director, Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP

I have an animated coverage chart illustrating a typical corporate insurance program that builds using mouse clicks. The animation knocks ‘em dead because it has great colors and makes a difficult concept immediately accessible to everyone. I also use PowerPoint for a follow-along where the audience is supposed to be reading relevant policy pages (in their hands) while I’m talking. To make sure everyone is on the same page (literally), I have a scanned version of the document in PowerPoint with a magnifying glass that moves in to focus on the text I want to discuss—which then appears on the slide as well.

Jeannine Chanes, Anderson Kill & Olick, PC

One of my favorite things to do during a PowerPoint presentation is to incorporate an old black-and-white motion picture that helps to make a point. I use several different ones, depending on the topic and the point I want to make. For example, I use "Gordon Sisters Boxing," a motion picture by Thomas Edison (1904) that runs about four minutes. It helps me to discuss things such as conflicts, political issues and other confrontation-related topics. I also use a motion picture of jugglers when I talk about legal administrators, executive directors, IT personnel or other positions in which people have to juggle their priorities. These movies are downloadable from the Library of Congress site ( and can be directly inserted into the PowerPoint presentation.

Andrew Z. Adkins, Director, University of Florida Legal Technology Institute

For more PowerPoint tips, check out