When it comes to adding text on your slide, there is no “golden rule” but less is considered more. The more text that is on each of your slides, the less that your viewers are listening to the audio portion of your presentation.
Each of your slides needs to convey your message in 3 seconds or less.
Keeping the number of objects on your slides as simple and highly visible as possible is recommended. Simplicity really does rule here. Therefore, it is important to only provide the most essential part of your message in your presentation.
Minimizing your text on each slide will make it easier for you to present your message and for your audience to understand. Always remember the K.I.S.S. principle.
You also want to remember the perfect number that was discussed last month. Yes, it is the number three. So, keep your bullet points limited to three per slide.
However, professional presentation designers recommend that you limit the use of bullet points, simply because as people can read bullet points faster than you can say them. They claim that once your viewers have read your bullet points, they will tend to zone out and not be listening to you.
If you’ve noticed, many slide presentations that you have seen in the past have had lots of bullet points on each of their slides. But, don’t you do that.
Practice your presentation so that you will remember what you are talking about so that your audience will be less likely to zone out during your presentation.
Limiting your use of bullet points and keeping them REALLY short can be very effective.
Same goes for your sub-titles or slide headlines. When writing the headlines for EACH slide, you should aim to tell the main point of EACH slide within as few words as possible.
Your headlines need to be precise and unforgettable, and make a strong enough of an impression that your viewers can pretty much recite your headlines when telling others about what you presented to them.
So, be sure to not sell yourself short when creating headlines about your product, service… or even an idea. You should be confident enough to use such words as “remarkable” rather than “good”.
Do NOT alienate your listeners by trying to sound “professional” with your presentation. Use your own everyday language, and explain your presentation the very same way you would explain it to a close friend… simple and to the point.
If you stick to being REAL with your audience, they will appreciate you much more… though I do recommend skipping from ever using the “f-bomb”, like bestselling author, speaker and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuck is said to use during his talks.
When you are passionate about what you have to offer in your presentation, be sure to include some enthusiasm by using words that will express that for you. The following are some examples.
These are known to “wake up” your audience when used to add your enthusiasm to your presentation.
When providing numbers in your presentation, be sure they are related, precise and relevant. And, instead of simply saying a cell phone has 30GB of storage, you could say something like what Newsroom did back in 2003 when introducing the third generation iPod.
Apple® today introduced its third generation iPods, which hold up to 7,500 songs in a stunning enclosure that is lighter and thinner than two CDs.
Hold Your Audience Spellbound
A great way to increase the retention of your audience and make your presentation memorable is to add a touch of curiosity. Leaving your viewers hanging in suspense helps to create a very powerful emotional connection to your story.
For example, can YOU tell your story in six words?
Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
That story makes me think something awful must have happened to that baby, as I am sure it did the same to your thinking. So, Hemingway was quite successful at creating suspense in all of those six words.
This is the type of curiosity that your presentations should use if you want your viewers to listen to your every word as you walking them through your story.
In the npr.org article noted in their quote above, they provide several other great examples, should you need to read more examples for inspiration.
The slideshow offered below is a great example in both its title that creates curiosity, and it will help you to avoid 5 shocking design mistakes to avoid.
Summary of Tips
- Don’t simply read your slides or you will put your viewers to sleep for sure, simply because your audience can read your slides for themselves. If you cannot present your presentation any other way, then simply hand the presentation over to them to watch and sit with them. But… if you do that, you are telling everyone present that you don’t know what you are talking about.
Instead, put what you want your audience to hear in notes and practice so that YOU won’t really even need your slide presentation at all. The slides should only serve as a visual reminder of what you are telling your viewers, and it should simply complement and improve your story. Using your slides like THIS will make your presentation stand out from others.
- If you find a need to present several different thoughts during your presentation, be sure to use ONE idea per slide in order to give it the necessary attention EACH thought should be given.
When too many ideas are shared on one slide, you will soon discover that they well become merged as one. This would only serve to confuse your viewers when they try to recall what you were telling them.
- Rounding your numbers is another tip that has been brought forward by professional presentation designers. They say it will make your presentation cleaner when viewed. So, instead of showing or stating a number, such as “10,005,609”, it would be better to show “10M+”.
- Triple check the spelling and grammar used on your slides, if necessary, as this can make a BIG impact on the success of your presentation.
- Don’t be afraid to use quotes when and where necessary, as they could serve to add importance or even credibility to your presentation. Plus, they are a great way to break up text within a presentation.
- Keep your chosen quotes short as you want to minimize your text.
- Always verify a quote and the source of the quote.
- Look for unique quotes that have been used seldom.
- Never over use quotes, as that would serve the opposite effect you are trying to create by using them in the first place.
Here’s an example of a slide using a quote.
Tools you may find helpful when adding your content are as follows.
UsingEnglish.com – this site claims to specialise in English as a second language, and they say they have a large collection of tools and resources for all who need to use them.
Worditout.com – this site offer users a tool for generating what are called Word Clouds that are created from text that you provide.
WikiQuote – is a collection of quotes that you can use if/when necessary.
BrainyQuote.com – is a website that can help you find that perfect quote for your next presentation.
CopyBlogger.com – Can teach you even more on how to create great writing. This is a great website if you want to learn how to do more with your writing.
Next month be watching for Part 4, on Ways to Enhance Your Killer Slide Presentation.
Hopefully, you will feel comfortable enough now to start planning your slide presentation. If you need practice, you could always volunteer to do a speech in April 2021 for a local group that you admire or that you are a part of.
Once you have the complete five-part series as part of your arsenal, you will be able to create your very own killer slide presentation for your business… or, even your boss.
If you have any question regarding adding killer content to your slide presentation, I look forward to reading your comment once you post it below. Once I have responded to your question, you will receive an email notification.
Slides Made Easy 2nd Edition (my affiliate link) by Adam Noar