Recently I read an article in Inc. magazine written by Carmine Gallo, the author of several books about presenting, including Talk Like Ted, and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. In the article, Gallo gives compelling reasons why we should rethink the way our PowerPoint slides look and perform.
He used as an example a recent presentation by Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai. Pichai’s presentation reflected his commitment to better slides, using a “bolder, fresher style, less text heavy and more visual.” Google’s employees are being encouraged to use this approach as well.
Some takeaways from the article:
- Stories are best told with pictures, not with bullet points and text. We remember stories and pictures far better than words on a screen.
- Brain science tells us it is impossible to both read the slides and listen to us. The result is often frustration and audiences tuning out.
- The average PowerPoint slide contains 40 words. Less is more. Photos are far more compelling than the words themselves.
- White space helps improve focus by avoiding distracting clutter. Keep your text and photos large and have just one idea per slide.
- Think of each slide as a billboard, easily and quickly understood. Keep editing each slide to remove anything that is not necessary, especially words.
Now of course, none of this is exactly new. We have all experienced how ineffective those cluttered eye charts are. But in many organizations, these are the “norms,” and people are reluctant to break them. That’s why I am so excited to see leaders modeling this “bolder, fresher style.” It means slides can be not only more visually appealing, but more effective in helping us tell our stories.