If your presentation is overloaded with information and you want to minimize the amount of text, but keep the main message, this post is definitely for you. 🙂
During working on slides design or redesign we also often face the problem how to simplify a complex presentation. So we share here three tips for how we cope with it.
The usual problem is how to can avoid too ‘wordy’ slides, that are good for reading on screen if someone has lots of time. But who has it today? Even more, if the slides are to be presented at a meeting, texts on slides are effectiveness killers. However, there is a way to visualize key facts and make it simple and easy to understand for our audience.
Apply those three steps when working on your next presentation:
1. Keep only the keywords, eliminate less important “Filler Words”
Sometimes our presentations are overwhelmed by unnecessary text. Ask yourself, do you need to write full sentence on a slide? Words on a slide do not have to have a form of spoken text. It’s not a book to be read. Narration should be told, not read on slide. Let’s see some examples:
- Sentence with list of items can be changes to list of bulletpoints.
- Words “and”, “example, instance”, “and more”, can be changed to shorter form “&”, “e.g.”, “…”
- Words expressing consequence “because of this”, “therefore that”, “which implies” can be replaced by graphical way showing consequence – a simple arrow can do.
- Repeating subject over several statements can be changed to one subject with sublist of statements. So you mention subject only once.
Next time you’ll prepare slides, try to analyze them and decrease the amount of information, saving only the keywords, that carry the main thoughts. It may not be easy, as we tend to think everything is important 😉 However, try doing this exercise more often and you’ll notice the progress.
After this underlining exercise, you can change the keywords to list of points that are easier to read.
2. Express the text essence by diagrams
The next step is to replace the keywords you chose previously, i.e. with the set of shapes, or create simple diagrams instead of texts. Using diagram graphics instead of block of text is great solution to create attractive looking slides.
Creating a diagram from scratch is pretty easy. You can design it using simple shapes – rectangles, ovals, arrows. See symbolic picture below.
If you have more time, you can make them more sophisticated:
Check more types of diagrams you can use in this article: 18 Visual Diagram Categories to Cover Major Structures and Processes.
Another way to approach diagrams is using PowerPoint’s handy tool called SmartArt that allows you to explore some basic diagram forms.
3. Split Content into More Slides to Get Space
If you feel you definitely need to present all the information, if you cannot reduce it, then this simple trick will help you. Break the text into two or three slides so a slide is less overloaded.
This will create more space to make your slides more visual. You will a space to use graphics, to explain better your points.
If this will result in bigger presentation, don’t worry. There are ways to organize slides in readable form. For example – use structure slides (e.g. title slide, section break slide – see examples in this blog post) as an eye-catching “splitters” of your presentation. Avoid too long series of the same looking slides.
Here are ideas how you can use the new space on slide, once you have less content:
- add illustrative pictures to express emotions or create visual associations
- visualize your presentation concepts by simple pictograms. Check this posts to see how to illustrate a business concept such as Strategy, Innovation or Risk.
- use markers to highlight the key text parts, as in slide picture below
- consider adding a personal touch to slides, using doodled shapes, sketched symbols and hand drawn pictograms
Try to follow these three steps, to make your next presentation truly engaging for an eye, to impress your audience.
And if you’re still stuck with your presentation, reach out to us. We can propose you several ideas how you can illustrate your concept on a slide.
Further articles on presentation graphics
For more inspiration on using visuals in your presentations, check out these articles as well: