Slide Design: Can your audience get the idea of your slide in 3 seconds?
When we put too may bullet points on a slide (or make it too cluttered) our audience either ignores the slide and listens, reads ahead or switches off (to play on their smart phone) – Which do you do?
Imagine driving along the freeway and seeing a billboard – if you can understand the billboard’s message within 3 seconds it is effective. If you have to slow down and try understand what the point is, you may cause an accident and the billboard is ineffective. Similarly with your slides the audience should understand the idea of the slide within 3 seconds – then it is an effective slide. So when designing your slides Think billboard.
If they cannot easily read it, it should not be on the screen. Presentations are not documents.
Think billboard when designing slides to avoid slide design “death by Powerpoint”
Effective slide design augments your message – it should’t be your message (notes) or a distraction (clutter)
- If the slide consists of your notes, your audience may read ahead and then there is no point in you standing up and speaking.
- We all get distracted by our thoughts during a presentation (must get milk on the way home). If the slide is simple enough it isn’t difficult to get back on track. When the slide is a list of bullet points we have to work out where the presenter is.
- It can be really annoying when a speaker has numerous bullet points on the screen and then talks about something totally different. With simple slides with a focus idea, it is easier to stay on point.
- A simple “billboard” type slide can be multifunctional and allow for more interactive discussions specially for sales people and consultants. With a heading such as relationships and a picture of hands clasped – you could talk about romantic relationships, families, colleagues or customers.
- Detailed information can be shared in a handout. (e.g. spreadsheets and detailed graphs). Dumping a full Excel spreadsheet into a presentation makes the information less effective. What do they need to know? A handout can also enable a deeper understanding of concepts, as participants can touch and interact with the information more easily.
- Don’t just copy the numbers on to a slide. Look for more visual ways to present the numbers e.g. as in Slide design tips: Percentages and statistics. If you are comparing values, perhaps a simple table or graph would show the difference better.
In slide design to avoid to “death by Powerpoint” think billboard!
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