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Use As Few Words As Possible

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Here’s a slide from a presentation I gave a few years ago.

Slide featuring a long quotation in small font about dealing with graphic design clients.

It’s a good quotation, but a terrible slide – faced with me reading this to them, an audience has a choice of either reading the text or listening to me read it. According to Cliff Atkinson in his book Beyond Bullet Points, neuroscientific research has confirmed that it’s impossible for us to take in the same information via two different channels (audio and visual) simultaneously.

But we can easily deal with different information delivered simultaneously through audio and visual channels – such as a documentary film with a spoken commentary.

Think of the presentation room as a cinema, with the slides on the screen acting as visual illustration of the story you are telling. Hopefully this should be a more inspiring setting for your creativity!

Empty cinema theatre.

Photo by Do u remember

Seth Godin says we should have no more than six words per slide:

Photo of statue holding a finger to her lips.

But sometimes even six words is too many:

Photo of statue holding a finger to her lips.

Get into the habit of asking how many words you can cut, for maximum impact:

Photo of statue holding a finger to her lips.

Or whether you need words at all. Some images speak for themselves:

Photo of statue holding a finger to her lips.

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