In live presentations, when a presenter is essential to assure the audience’s understanding, the best practice is to only keep on the slides text that helps guide the presenter in his speech.
But what to do when we have to send the presentation to other people and there is no presenter available?
In any presentation, live or not, we must take into account the audience, who is paying attention to the message we are trying to convey. When you email someone a PowerPoint document, chances are the recipient is expecting a quick and easy read, otherwise he would expect a Word document.
However, at the same time your presentation must differ from a Word document, it must be comprehensible. Thus, there is a minimum amount of text required on each slide, so we can’t just remove all sentences.
That becomes a challenge: How to create a presentation as interesting as its live version, with little text and, at the same time, self-explanatory?
1. From point A to B
Determine point A (what the audience already knows about the presentation topic) and point B (the message you want to communicate and that the audience doesn’t know about). Defining points A and B makes it easier to determine the presentation’s main objective and what information is relevant.
2. Cut down content
With a clear objective identified, it is important to review all bullet points and reduce excess text, that is, that content that won’t help you lead the reader to Point B.
3. Avoid details
Leave details to be discussed in a meeting or in a document. A presentation is made, most of the time, to captivate and engage the audience, no matter what the subject is. In order to do that, you don’t need to include details, not even those related to your main objective. Therefore, read the presentation a third time and only keep the most relevant information on it.
4. Macro view
Think of the way you will arrange content through the slides even before thinking of the visuals. Remember what’s in it for the audience and, if necessary, think it on a different perspective. What about starting off with interesting news or a story that will draw your reader’s attention, making him or her try to guess what the next slide is going to be?
5. Think over the visuals
Just like it happens in live presentations, visual language is taken in faster that words and it must lead the audience to Point B. Therefore, it is important to be careful when illustrating your text since visuals can completely change the meaning of the information. Besides, you won’t be there to explain it.
So don’t let your self-explanatory presentation become a Word document! It can be as interesting as the live presentation.