The goal of a presentation could be many things: Persuading, informing or entertaining. Some will combine all three. The use of slides is there to add to your presentation. To give a visual representation of the point you’re making. And the simpler, the better. Therefore, slides with a lot of words on them do not work. Some presenters show a full screen of words and then read them. The audience follows along, interpreting the words in their own voice, which may not have the same intention as the presenter. Or maybe they’re speed reading through the presentation and paying no attention to the person. Not a good strategy.
When you’re giving a speech, the audience wants to connect with you, not your notes!
In 1885, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus studied memory and developed, the forgetting curve”, which refers to how much information we retain over time. In his study, 20 minutes after hearing a speech you’ll retain 58%, after an hour its 44% and after a day, less than 33%. That tells us that it’s not about information retention but about impact, what feeling did you leave the audience with?
Here’s what I suggest has the most impact:
Slides should only last 10 seconds…after that our attention wanes.
Bullet your points with only 5 or 6 words.
The saying “A picture is with a thousand words” is so true. When we see an image up there on the screen we interpret the meaning right away.
If you think that you need more information to get your message across and make the sale, create two slide decks: one for you to present on the day and the other for your clients to read at their leisure.
As Maya Angelou says:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.