There’s STILL too much text on slide presentations

It’s 2021 people. Stop creating presentation slide decks crammed full of paragraphs of text. People are either reading all that junk instead of listening to you, or they’re ignoring it because it’s too many words. You done messed up either way.

And this is not an original point. Every “how to present” guide in the history of slide decks has said it. So why do people keep making this mistake? How is this still a thing?

If you’re presenting, write less. Aim for less than 30 words per slide. Or follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule:

It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

Guy Kawasaki

Now, if you’re thinking “but I want people to be able to reference this afterwards!” then that’s not a presentation. That’s a Slideument:

A slideument is a cross between a slide deck and a document. The idea is that you can use a single slide deck both for slides during your presentation and as a handout for people to read afterwards. The trouble is that those two needs lead to very different requirements on your slides, so you can’t satisfy them both. The result is that slideuments usually fail at both.

Martin Fowler

The answer in that case is to create one deck for the presentation, and something else for the handout. The handout itself can be a slide deck with a lot of words (they call that an Infodeck). That’s fine as long as that’s the only purpose of it.

Whatever your excuse, cut it out. Remember: less words, better presentations.

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