Recently, I attended a large networking event that featured an out-of-town speaker who had been brought in to share research results on a very important topic. (Vagueness added to protect the not-so-innocent.) I had been looking forward to this presentation and was ready to take notes in hopes of blogging about the insights I gained.
Instead, the speaker committed two of the biggest power point sins – her slides had lots of words on them, and she READ them to us. This was a room full of approximately 600 intelligent, thoughtful people. I’m pretty sure we all knew how to read. After a couple slides, I looked around the room and noticed people were talking to each other, checking their phones, or daydreaming.
Power point has been around for many years and at one time, it was common practice to pack each slide with tons of data. Not anymore. We are a much more visual society. Speakers are competing fiercely with mobile devices for their audience’s attention. Many times, they lose.
So how can you win? By leaving information OFF your slides! A couple months ago, I delivered a presentation at the Junior Achievement National Empowering Success Conference. My presentation is below. Notice anything? The slides don’t say much. If you want to know what I said, you need to download the presentation so you can read my speaker’s notes. Everything I wanted the audience to know was in my notes, not on the slides. During this presentation I was not only competing with mobile devices, I was competing with LUNCH. But because the slides didn’t say much, the audience paid attention to what I said, the presentation got great reviews, and everyone stayed awake.
The next time you have to make a presentation, challenge yourself to leave much of the information off your slides. This more visual method will keep your audience engaged.
Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.