What if the information does not fit on the slide?
Check out my tips on slide composition and more
Many presentations have the same common problem — there is too much unnecessary information on the slides. As if the speakers want to prove that they understand the topic and convince the audience that they are experts.
Unfortunately, this works the other way around. The ones from the back can’t see anything and people on the front raw get tired too fast, and you lose their attention almost from the start.
The main rule for every presentation is to make the slides easy to read with text, visualization, and a speaker’s speech.
Sometimes the topic of the presentation is complicated, the requirements are strict, and you want to put as many information on the slides as possible. Here are a few tips on how to make your presentation clearer:
1. Cut the text and show the main thing
Imagine yourself sitting in the hall. What presentation would you like to see? Simple, logical, inspirational. Surely after this exercise, it will be possible to remove a good third of words and numbers. Remember that each slide should develop an episode and lead the audience to the highlight of the story.
Work with the text
Rewrite slide titles in shorter, more actionable formats. Remove complicated abbreviations, divide long paragraphs into bullets, and add graphic guidelines (for example, numbers).
Thus, people will immediately see the most important and consistently read information from the slide. Always keep in mind the purpose of why you started a presentation, simplify data, and think about the audience.
2. Choose the right visualization
It is a frequent mistake when creating a presentation to choose the wrong formats for data visualization and use standard PowerPoint templates. Start with a simple one. If you remove the standard object strokes and the standard templates that the program suggests using, then quite a lot of space will be freed up.
However, there is a more important piece of advice — you need to choose the right tools to visualize information.
For a vast array of numbers and text, a table is best suited. Also, for exponential growth or comparison of different periods, it is best to use histograms.
Believe your eyes. It’s easier to see what you are talking about than to read a few paragraphs but still don’t understand anything.
This rule is based on the creation of infographics, and it works great!
Suffice it to highlight the main thing, to rewrite the long text in a short explanation, and shift the entire emphasis on the visual form. Add photos or icons that reflect the essence.
Try to show your thoughts using graphical objects, and the audience will be very thankful!
3. Break the information into different slides.
It cannot be that all information is equally important. Instead, often it’s several different ideas that are combined and presented together. Give enough space to each of them! Create individual slides. You can create a new slide in PowerPoint by pressing just the pair of keys.
There is nothing terrible if the presentation grows from 20 slides to 30. In the end, it will look more straightforward and will help the audience to get acquainted with your idea faster. If you are worried that the audience won’t understand the topic of the slide, there is a proven tool to help them. You can make navigation for the presentation sections at the top of the slide.
4. Use animation
Using animations and slide transitions is a great way to show much information gradually. In the “Animation” tab, you can select the appropriate effect and apply it to each group of objects. Adjust the speed of appearance and select the format: by clicking or automatically when you start the slide. So you can decide by yourself whether it is worth telling more on this topic, and you can easily manage the attention of the audience.
Another tip is to use transitions between slides in the same tab, “Transitions.” “Transformation” works great. You can adjust the transition direction and continue talking about the same topic using seamless transitions between slides. The audience will not notice the “catch,” and you can increase the numbers and conclusions.
5. Put additional information to the appendix
You can use footnotes when it is crucial to clarify that the information is correct, confirmed, and obtained from a reliable source. Use this method in presentations of startups, investment proposals, or strategies that consultants make in expensive suits.
If there is too much information (tables, graphs, and formulas for calculation), then it is easier to create a separate section in the presentation after the main slides. Call it “Appendix”.
Presentation is a format where “smaller and simpler” means “better”.
Do not forget about it! Do not use all the content that is at your disposal. Use the main one. Use these simple secrets in your work. Surprisingly, the audience will believe you more and reward you with a well-deserved portion of applause.