How to Write Powerful PowerPoint Slides or What Was I Thinking?
You have a lot to present and you want your slides to be well written. You believe that sentences should be well constructed and points must be powerful. What's more, you want the entire script on your slides for one of the following reasons:
■you don't want to forget anything
■you need it all to keep you on track
■your audience needs to see everything so they'll understand everything
■your audience will be impressed with details
■your audience expects it
■your manager wants it
■you don't know what else to do.
Whatever your reason, get over it. If you want power in your presentation, if you want your audience to be excited and persuaded and ready to buy, the source of important information must be you-not your slides. Indeed, if you expect your slides to be anything other than a visual aid that reinforces your message, you suck all the potential power dry.
So, you're reading this article hoping to discover how to write for the screen. What were you thinking?
Perhaps you've heard me say it before, but it is a truth worth repeating. Your PowerPoint is not the presentation; you are. Put another way, PowerPoint is the backdrop; you are the star of the show.
The power in PowerPoint comes not from the all tricks it can do or from all the words you can jam onto the screen. It comes from the technology's effectiveness as a conveyor of images. As a visual aid, PowerPoint gives you the opportunity to be a great presenter. As a visual adjunct to your presentation, it can enhance, simplify, emphasize, entertain, underscore or highlight what you-the presenter-are saying. But as an information vehicle, it fails miserably.
Do NOT put a single sentence on your screen-unless it's a brilliant quote from somebody important. Do NOT go for clever marketing buzzwords or jargon or jazz. Do NOT put everything you want to say on screen to remind you of what you want to say. It will trip you up and drag you down. Even worse, reading from the screen does not impress an audience; it bores them to tears. Besides, this is your stuff and you could talk about it for hours. A few keywords will keep you on track. If somebody else is delivering the presentation, use great graphics and provide "talking points" for each slide. Tell the presenter to practice until they are comfortable and fluent and easy to hear.
I know. When you look at the PowerPoint templates, they practically beg you to begin typing. Resist! Think visuals, not text, because the more text you have, the more tedious your presentation will be-and that's bad for sales.
What on earth were you thinking?