Having visual rather than text-heavy presentations is brain-friendly according to the article below, which looks into the slides of Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai. The idea is that the brain cannot concentrate on two things at once, so reading text while listening to someone talk is a struggle. As someone who has sat through many talks, both academic and business ones, this definitely strikes a chord.
Here then, are three deadly sins of powerpoint that I will strive to avoid in my own:
- Cramming so much text into each slides that it starts to look like abstract art
- Containing the exact text that you are reading out
- Containing lots of charts, tables, etc that are too small too see
A lesser sin, but one too many presentations make, is to not include your Twitter handle or the name of your business in each slide. No one is going to remember your name halfway through the presentation, and if you want people to engage with you after (and during) the event, make it easy for them.
And here are three virtues to aim for:
- Limiting the use of bullet points
- Looking for visuals that enhance rather than literally illustrate the point being made (and avoid stock photos)
- One point per slide
University of Washington biologist John Medina has done extensive research into persuasion and how the brain processes information. His advice is to burn most PowerPoint decks and start over with fewer words and more pictures. According to his book, Brain Rules, "We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65 percent."