[info]Is your slide show achieving what you intended? What if it isn’t…[/info]
Your slides are supposed to help you make a better presentation. For most of us it does the opposite. Here’s why:
Psychologically most of us create a slide show to help us stay on track. That’s the truth. Then we read it to our audience. The slides may be great, but there are often too many, they’re too texty and just too busy. I know this, I’ve been guilty of all the above. Because your eyes are glued to the screen or monitor, you sacrifice your greatest asset – eye contact. And then you’re boxed in – because if you’ve prepared 25 slides, well that’s what you have to deliver – 25 slides, even if you only have 18 slides of time available, whether it’s your fault or not! Tense stuff.
The real time waster comes when you realize you’ve overdone it – (hopefully well in advance of the big day!) and then have to clear out all the slides you don’t really need to make your point. That’s difficult, because we become attached to our slides. A bit like getting attached to one’s stocks & shares.
Before you create any slide, ask yourself “Is it necessary?” You don’t really need a slide showing all the words you’ve just said, or worse, the ones you’re about to read. But a symbol or picture may support a message nicely, with as little text as possible. This allows you the freedom to speak without worrying too much about timing.
The most favoured technique of the damned is blasting half a page of text on to the slide in one go and then proceeding to tediously read it. Please don’t ever do that. Rather let them stay home and email them your presentation. Then they can read it when they have a gap, if they ever have one.
Some of the best speeches I’ve ever seen were made without a single slide. The biggest upside is that no set up time required. You can speak anywhere, anytime. If they lose your bag or drown your laptop – doesn’t matter, you can still perform. If you’re afraid of losing your way, jot down some key words on numbered cue cards.
There are however, pitfalls. When you address a predominantly foreign audience, some key words on the screen may help them to follow you much better and increase the impact of your presentation.
So think carefully about what it is you hope to achieve. Consider the context of the presentation. Keep it simple, but make sure it’s clear and easily understandable.
Your objective is to deliver a key message with a few key points. Your audience wants value, and won’t mind being entertained. Why spoil it with an awful side show? Ever thought of including a few simple props instead?