2 Simple Rules for Dealing With Lots of Text

January 20, 2014

Evidence shows that people prefer visual content. Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes I see with slide design today is the abuse of text. Presenters use too much of it, too often and on too many slides. It’s a common error that can easily be remedied.

Here are 2 simple rules to help you get on the right path:

Rule #1: Less is More

A big temptation is to put every word, every sentence and every thought on the screen. Don’t embrace this technique. Look for the golden nugget of your message and let that key concept come to the surface. For instance, if your product impacted 30 million people, I don’t want to see your big nasty chart. I just want to know about the 30 million lives that you touched.

Rule #2: Stretch it Out

Most presenters think text-based bullets are effective, which is why they default to them on so many occasions. Wrong. I want to shatter that paradigm. Let’s take those text-heavy bullets and stretch them out across multiple slides as you will see below.



As you can see, the "After" slides are much more visually compelling.

Text can obviously be a very powerful tool within your presentation if used properly. It can also be your biggest enemy if used poorly. Design wisely.

READ MORE: Optimizing Your Speech and Slides

About the Author

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki.

If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

Creative Commons License
The Bigger Picture by F. Delventhal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/krossbow/3279873902/.