3 Easy Ways to Cut Text And Upgrade Your Slides

Reduce text for better slides

Reading your slides is public enemy #1 when it comes to presenting and your audience hates it more than anything! And if you do it because you want to reach visual learners, there is no such thing. Research shows that when people both hear and see the same verbal message they have trouble focusing on either one.

Use the Notes pane.

Many people use their slides as teleprompters. A better approach is to use the Notes pane for your speaker notes and other personal reminders. This way you can have the best of both worlds. You’ll see your speaker notes privately and keep your slides nice and clean. So, if you like your teleprompter you can keep your teleprompter — just don’t force it on your audience!

If you like your teleprompter, you can keep your teleprompter.

Build your slides for your audience and keep your notes for yourself.

Make Only One Point Per Slide

A great thing about building slides is that they are free. It doesn’t cost anything to use additional slides and it doesn’t take any longer if you spread those three talking points across three different slides. I always cringe when I hear organizations or event planners put a limit on the number of slides. Usually, they’re trying to equate the number of slides to an amount of time. When done well, the number of slides has absolutely nothing to do with how long it takes to present them.

The number of slides is irrelevant. The flow, pace, and clarity of the message is what matters the most.

Our brains can only process one idea at a time anyway, so why tax them with a flurry of information all at the same time?

Create a handout

Where do you put all the facts, figures and other supplemental details related to your topic? In the handout you create specifically for that purpose. Creating a separate handout lets your slides carry your message effectively and efficiently with visuals and the power of emotions without getting bogged down in all the minutiae.

Repeat after me. Good slides to not make good handouts.

If all you want to do is create a file of facts and figures, then cancel the meeting and send in a report. – Seth Godin

A good handout helps your audience pay attention and engage with you instead of furiously trying to scribble down numbers, websites or other stats they want to remember.

I’d love to hear what you do in your work. Do you have similar approaches or take a different angle?

Published by Mike Taylor

Born with a life-long passion for learning, I have the great fortune to work at the intersection of learning, design, technology & collaboration.

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