Use Fewer Slides With More Data

July 12, 2011

Chapter 11 – Remote Presentations

The standard PowerPoint pattern is many slides with a little information per slide. This pattern is completely wrong for remote presentations. When you show information in such small chunks you are giving the audience just one way to look at it. You are also making them consume it at your speed.

Different people digest data in different ways and at different rates. Help your audience by making your data available in as many ways as possible. Give them more data in each slide so they can decide how they want to consume it.

The first advantage of having more data per slide is that you don’t need to change slides as often. Every time you change slides your audience will take a moment adjusting to the layout, presentation, and information on the new slide. This is time they are not listening to you or thinking about your data.

The second advantage is that you are giving each audience member the option of consuming the data in their own way. Maybe you see that your points follow a logical order from one to two and then to three, but this won’t make sense to everyone. Some people want to start with the answer and then hear the question. Others prefer to start with the question and then look at the answer. If you add more data to each slide you can satisfy both types of people.

If you are presenting a successful product you might have quotes from customers showing how much they love the product. These quotes should be in your slides. Assume you have three quotes about the product. It might look something like this:

  • “We saved $10 million in productivity.” -Alice Anders, MegaCorp
  • “Really easy to use. A great tool for productivity!” -Bob Baker, Colossus Partners
  • “Our engineers learned this tool amazingly fast. It is great!” -Carol Conners, Titan Limited

Positive quotes like these can go into your presentation, but don’t read them aloud. Show the slide and say, “customers love it!” Some audience members will read every quote, some of them will just scan the company names. Let them choose how much of this information they want and spend your time focusing on more exciting topics.

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