Have you ever experienced "death by PowerPoint"?
In meetings, at conferences it happens all too frequently. A slide goes up with 200 words and 5 complicated graphics on it. Apart from wishing I had a better pair of glasses I start to try and make sense of it. I read the words, I stare at the charts trying to make sense of them. I may pick up something the presenter is saying if he/she is helping to explain a chart or table, but I am really focused on reading and staring.
When you are presenting and you wish to communicate effectively to your audience do you want them to listen to you, or do you want them to practice their reading and staring?
A few years ago I read a book by Garr Reynolds called Presentation Zen. He is a graphic designer living in Japan and from an extensive review of presentations he drew out a couple of simple rules for making compelling presentations.
Maximum 6 words per slide
A picture rather then words
I now try to adhere to these rules when possible. In fact the best presentation I have ever given was at an energy conference in Rome in which I adhered strictly to these rules. How do I know it was the best presentation. Well, the chairman asked the audience at the end if the had any questions. One gentlemen stood up and said "No questions, but I would like to say that was the best presentation of the conference" (which had gone on for a couple of days) - and he was a very senior member of the industry. That gave me the feedback that the approach works.
Have you tried it?