Author: Byron Smith
It’s not really ‘Be Kind to Audiences Week’.
There’s no such thing.
But I wish there was, and I wish it were longer than a week.
In fact, let’s make it a year, and hold it annually until the end of humanity.
Because most presentation slides are torturing their audiences.
In fact, UN boycotts would not be out of place for the atrocities befalling thousands of innocent conference delegates every single day.
So next time you create a presentation, please stop and consider the consequences of your actions.
People don’t want to read hundreds of indecipherable words. They don’t care about your fancy transitions, your intimate grasp of every typeface at your disposal or your complex diagrams that look like the blueprints for a space station.
Think more Ogilvy, less Dostoevsky.
A presentation slide shouldn’t look like a page from a weighty Russian novel.
Rather, it should be more like a great advertising billboard… a large eye-catching and evocative image, and (if absolutely necessary) a few carefully selected words that make a big impact, even when viewed from a long way away – such as the back row of a plenary room.
If you have something to say to your audience, say it. Out loud.
Then use your slide to reinforce what you’re saying with a simple picture and a few words.
If you can’t think of an image or how to turn complex ideas into simple, effective visual messages, ask someone to help you.
Your audience will reward you with their attention, and you’ll dodge all kinds of potential issues with the Geneva Convention.