The Lessig Method of Presentation

Using 200 slides... One word per slide...

It does not sound right.

It doesn't but it can be visually compelling and believe me, it drives the message home.

The "Lessig Method" of presentation was invented by the Stanford law professor, Lawrence Lessig. His slides often contain just a single word, short quote, or a photo.

See Dick Hardt using the Lessig method to deliver a "barn-burner" of presentation. To me, it looks a little bit dumbed down, especially with the "one-word-per-slide " rule and when he says the exact word that is shown on the screen but it seems to work. Dick is a CEO and founder of the internet company Sxip but the content of the presentation does not really matter, just focus on the style.

Hardt speaks for 15 minutes and synchronizes his talk smoothly to what must be several hundred slides. Most slides are no more than a word or two, or a photo, and visible no more than a few seconds.

This is an example of the Lessig Method. If you are bored by the same old PowerPoint templates and animations, it is time to give the Lessig Method a try. You audience may just like what they see.

On the opposite spectrum, Guy Kawasaki talks about the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint: “a PowerPoint presentation should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30 points.” (link via

The corporate hip-hop presentation style - Communication Nation.blogspot
The "Lessig Method" of presentation -
Open Thread: Your best tip on doing presentations -
PowerPoint Presentations: Tips To Avoid Last Minute Surprises. Digital Inspiration, 12/2007.

Further reading:
Keys to a Successful Presentation. Medscape, 01/2008.
PresentationZen: can academics use this approach? Dr Shock MD PhD, 01/2008.
How to create a great powerpoint without breaking the law. Medical Education Blog, 04/2008.

Updated: 04/07/2008

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