You have surely heard some of the practical presentation tips before. Yet, it is a mistake that we make over and over again. In our enthusiasm, we tend to stuff our slides with information. We tend to explain it all. We tend to go overboard.
There are two reasons why your presentations should have minimal information.
- Your audience will never listen to you if everything you are saying is up there on your slide. They might as well tune off and read their handouts at home.
- They will remember your presentation better if your slides have only 1 or 2 words, an interesting infographic, a diagram with vivid colors, etc. For the explanations, they will have to listen to you. This combination of visual-audio interest will definitely add to audience recall.
It’s not just your slides that need to abide by the ‘less is more’ caveat. When you speak, don’t ramble. Speak what’s relevant. When answering a question, don’t take more than 2 – 3 minutes. If your answer does in fact warrant more time, say so and request the person who asked to contact you after the presentation for a more elaborate answer. Don’t repeat information. You may lose the attention and respect of your audience.
Remember Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule? It calls for 10 slides, in a presentation less than 20 minutes, using a minimum 30 point font size. This rule goes hand in hand with the less is more caveat, because it challenges you. When you are limited to a few slides where you can’t include too much because the text has to be in clear, big fonts, and only give yourself a few minutes to deliver your presentation, you automatically weed out the unnecessary, and focus on your core topic.
This presentation tracing Twitter’s beginnings in San Francisco to its prominence on the world’s stage by presentation guru Nancy Duarte is a great example of the less is more rule in slides.