The slide shown below came up on my Twitter feed. I’m sure the intent was to share what the tweeter thought was a great idea.
Here are the mistakes this presenter made—so you can avoid them in your next presentation.
(Backstory: Craig Cegielski shared this during a session at the 2017 MREA Annual Conference. You can see his presentation here, if you’re interested. I also want to note that not all of the slides are bad, which just illustrates that everyone can use a little editing sometimes.)
Don’t Always Use Bullet PointsWhy bullet points? They are totally unnecessary. There is no law that says all slides must have bullet points! This is a paragraph. If you want to show the first paragraph of a book you intend to write, then make this slide:
Don’t Just Read at Your AudienceWhy are you there? If every word is on a slide, you are unnecessary. You made yourself redundant. Write an article and hand it out. If, for some reason, you want your article in PowerPoint form, make slides like this one and send us the PowerPoint. No one wants to sit in a room and have presenters read at them. We know how to read. Plus, it is difficult to read text while listening. If you want the audience to read your article, be quiet and let them read without distraction.
But let’s say you want to visually present key points. If that’s the case, you don’t need fluff and filler. You need key words. You are there to speak. You can embellish as you talk. Look at the fluff on the slide:
Don’t Have Too Many Words on a SlideWhere did we get the idea that people come to presentations to read? Shouldn’t presentations be about presenting? About oral communication? Many people have made this point and fought to change the wordy, bullet-point mindset, yet the message hasn’t caught on. The core message ofour example slide is still buried in unnecessary words.
Don’t Have Complete Sentences on a SlideKey words only! You are there for a reason. You are there to present, to talk, to explain. Don’t have slides doing your job.
In other words, be a presenter, not a reading supervisor.
For more advice, check out Own Any Occasion. This book offers 11 steps for how to craft the perfect message and captivate audiences with exceptional delivery, no matter the circumstance.