Avoiding death by PowerPoint

Sleeping audience at presentationYou’re at a conference and it’s the post-lunch slot. The speaker starts his presentation by turning to look admiringly at his first slide: a morass of barely legible bullet points. Groan! By slide two, you’re wondering if anyone will notice you’re playing Ruzzle on your phone for the next 45 minutes.

I had that familiar sinking feeling when I was in the audience at an event last week run by one of my clients (who shall remain nameless). Slides crammed with dense text that speakers insisted on reading out – as if we couldn’t read for ourselves. Messy, cluttered diagrams and charts that obscured more than they clarified. Slide after slide of dreary, text-heavy content that soured my view of the speaker and the subject. Sound familiar?

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of inflicting death by PowerPoint, you can bring your presentation to life with powerful, image-led slides that make your messages memorable – and that mark you out as a clear-thinking and creative presenter.

It’s an approach that’s beautifully articulated by Garr Reynolds, particularly in his book Presentation Zen. When I’m preparing slides to support a speech I’ve written, I try to persuade my clients to go down this path.

To see the gold standard I aspire to, slideshows that follow the principles espoused in Presentation Zen and that are available to view for free include:

Read about my approach to writing speeches and presentations

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