Death by PowerPoint?
We’ve all been there: wishing for death’s cold embrace as we endure a PowerPoint that should never have been created. While a lack of design or even too many slides may be forgivable, the biggest problem is far too much content.
How do we go about making sure we keep the content down? Simply put, it’s about brutally editing your slides. But before you reach that stage, ask yourself this one question: “Do I even need a PowerPoint?”.
If the speaker makes sense without the PowerPoint, leave the PowerPoint at home. If the PowerPoint makes sense without the speaker, leave the speaker at home.
The redundancy effect
Let’s talk about the redundancy effect. It is a psychological phenomenon whereby if you show your audience at the same time you tell them something, what will be remembered by your audience is zero. Our brain can’t or won’t take the same information in in two ways simultaneously.
Avoiding the creation of a weapon of mass distraction
Here are three questions to ask yourself before, during and after your PowerPoint creation to ensure your PowerPoint is not a weapon of mass distraction:
1. ‘Does it even need a PowerPoint?’
There is every possibility a Word document will solve your problem with notes both for yourself and your audience. If the only reason you’re making one is to keep yourself on track, then just print yourself some notes that nobody else sees. If you want to send the information as notes afterwards, again PowerPoint isn’t the program to use. Please don’t insult your audience by reading to them – we all gave that up in primary school! When you’re putting your script together, forget the expectation to use PowerPoint and be honest with yourself.
2. ‘Do I really need to show the audience this?’
When you’re writing your outline, you may come across a particular image, graph or visual that you really need them to see. Remember it is a visual aid, it is about seeing. Tell your audience everything you can, and show them what you can’t.
3. ‘What can I remove?’
Your PowerPoint has been built. Before you save and close it, have a careful and brutal look at every slide with your finger hovering over the delete button. If your presentation makes sense without some element on the slide, then get rid of it. Having it there is only distracting and adding to the redundancy effect.
Worried that your PowerPoints are killing your message and your audience? Sometimes it simply takes someone looking in from the outside to give you the pointers you need. Do not hesitate to connect with me, ask any questions in the comments, share with those who need this message (urgently) and contact me on 0479 173 320 or [email protected] should you require a little extra help.