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Entries in Slides (1)


Does Your Pitch Suck? Yeh, Probably!

Let me start by saying that I rank among the worst presenters in the world. I can't bare to watch myself present. I repeat words obsessively during a presentation. Words like "so" and "actually." I don't know how to fix my presentation style. I've given up. So I figure the audience will actually have to bare the punishment of watching me say "so" and "actually" a few too many times!

But there is one major mistake that I corrected about 8 years ago after I watched one of Steve Jobs' brilliant presentations. It's a mistake that I see repeated in more than 95% of presentations I watch. In fact, I was at the local Tie Rapid Fire Pitch Event last night and I think all but two or three of the presenters (out of about 20)  made this enormous mistake.

So what is the mistake? Lets see if you can spot it here:

Do you see the mistake? Too many words on a single slide!

There were a group of us watching presentations in the back of the room and every time we saw a slide like the one above, which was way too often, there were a few chuckles. It's really hard to take a presenter seriously when they thought it was acceptable to put so many words on a single PowerPoint slide during a 2-minute rapid-fire presentation.

What is the purpose of the slide? Should I listen to the presenter or read the slide? I can't do both and I most certainly am not interested in reading a slide with so many words on it. If I was going to read, I'd listen to audible. If I only listen to the presenter, then I feel like I've missed out on an important piece of information that only the slide provided. What to do? I'll just tune out instead! That's a lot easier to do when the presenter expects me to do so much work.

So what should the slides of a presenter contain? Learn from the master of presentations, Steve Jobs. Here is a video of him introducing the iPad:


Watch the Video of Steve Jobs Introducing the iPad

The key to having great slides is to have very few words on the slide itself. Pictures are great, but if you're going to put words on a slide, make sure the viewer can read all the words at a glance. You could also build the words little-by-little as you speak. Create slides that introduce two or three words at a time at precisely the moment those words are important to your presentation.

Of course, every rule has some exceptions. For example, when quoting someone, it's a great idea to provide the full quote in the slide, regardless of how many words:

In summary, keep the slides simple and focused. Make sure your audience can follow along without a lot of reading.