Talking Points
April 2024

Less Is More With PowerPoint

Our presentation slides are supposed to aid our speaking, not anchor it. Yet, so many of us load up our decks with point after point of “relevant information,” and we get the one response we fear most…yawns.

It’s time to turn that deep deck of details back into a compelling talk. Here are some ideas to get you started.*

Start At The Beginning
You know that title slide? Chuck it. You and your topic will likely be introduced by another presenter. If you aren’t, go ahead and introduce yourself. You’re there to speak, right? Dispense with your bio slide, too. You can touch on your background verbally. Instead, consider using that first slide to pique audience curiosity.

Rely More On Your Voice
You’ve probably been told to use one point per slide. It’s good advice, but don’t take it literally. You don’t have to put every single point on a slide. Keep your audience on their toes. Make some points without slides. Besides, when you put every point on a slide, they begin to look like cue cards.

Skip The Superchart
How many chart and diagram slides have you seen that make you squint your eyes? It doesn’t matter how important the data is or how much time you spent compiling it. If your audience can’t quickly and clearly digest the information, the slide won’t engage people. It will distract them.

Avoid The Wallpaper Slide
Do you know what a slide plastered with partner logos looks like? An afterthought. See if you can work logos into your presentation where they make the most sense. Or mention the company names out loud. It makes you look sincere about partnership.

Don’t Forget To Say “Thanks”
Literally. Tell your audience directly that you appreciate their time and attention. “Thank you” means more when it’s spoken than when it’s projected onto a wall. The same goes for “Any Questions?” Don’t put it on a slide. Just ask them.

*Based on Denise Graveline’s “8 Presentation Slides To Delete Right Now.”

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2 Responses to “Less Is More With PowerPoint”

  1. Andy Benkert

    These are good suggestions for when you actually make the presentation, though often our decks live online (Slideshare is a good example) for others to consume without the benefit of having attended the actual presentation. For that reason, I think it’s a good idea to have a number of the slides you recommend leaving out – title & bio in particular, though a few that contain info you verbally present can be helpful as well – to insert for the deck you upload to websites for future consumption. That is, unless you recorded the presentation and put the webinar recording, or video recording if done in person, up instead. Then, forget what I just said. 😉

    • Decca

      You make a really good point Andy. We will consider doing another article in the future on tips for presentations posted online, as these should be treated differently.