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Create a Document, Not a Slideument

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‘Slideument’ is Garr Reynolds’ term for the printout of slides that is often given to the audience after a presentation. It’s a deliberately horrible word, reflecting the fact that the slideument is a compromise giving the worst of both worlds: because they know the slides will be printed, many presenters cram them with text, which makes them terrible presentation aids; but there isn’t room to explain the ideas properly, so they make an inadequate handout.

Here’s what a slideument of this Presentation Skills workshop would look like:

Image of slides printed out on sheet of A4.

Garr’s solution is to create a separate document with a written summary of the presentation, illustrated with some of the most important images from the slides. Of course, this involves more work – but doing an outstanding job usually involves more work. Your audience will thank you for it – and keep hold of the document (which should of course include your website address and contact details…).

Here’s a snapshot of a pdf document I created for a presentation last year:

Image of written illustrated summary of my talk.

Another benefit of writing out your presentation is that it helps you clarify your thinking and correct any weak points in your argument. I would never read a text to an audience, but once I’ve laid my ideas out in writing I find it much easier to talk fluently about them when I’m on stage.

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