Wed Workshop – Dot points = dead message

P1010067I am, this week, on a cruise ship sailing around the South Pacific.

I say that not to make you jealous – although I AM ON A SOUTH PACIFIC CRUISE! – but to tell you why I am on that ship.

I’m what’s called an ‘enrichment speaker’ .. In return for a ‘free’ cruise for Shirley and me, I have to give four one-hour lectures over the course of the cruise, talking about a variety of topics: Great Travellers you may never have heard of, Colonisation of the South Pacific, Cruise Ships – Past, Preesent and Future, and How to craft a media release for your community group.

And it is REQUIRED that the presentations be accompanied by Powerpoint slides or similar – because that Powerpoint presentation is what passengers will see later, if they tune into the ship’s TV channel.

So, do you know how many dot-points I have in the dozens of slides that I have prepared?lecture

Zip. Nada. Zilch. Not One.

Why? Well, As Seth Godin explains in a 2007 ebook called Really Bad PowerPoint, “The minute you put bullet points on the screen, you are announcing ‘write this down, but don’t really pay attention to it now.’ ”

The other reason is that word-based slides just don’t sink in.

I’ve seen research which suggests that people are 70% more likely to retain information if it’s presented pictorially that if it is merely text.

Of course, what I’m doing in my presentations is using images to reinforce what I’m saying verbally – so hopefully, that will get the whole lot remembered 🙂

inverted pyramidNow, sometimes, you need to use words on screen – but if you must, try to have them contained in – or even create – a graphic.

The classic ‘Inverted Pyramid’ of journalism teaching is a good example.

But if you have to put any more than 5 lines, containing any more than 5 words each line? Forget it … in a slide-show presentation, that simply won’t stick.

So – grab a pen and a piece of paper, and write this down: Dot points = dead message.

Don’t suffer from ‘Death, by Powerpoint’ – and don’t make your audience suffer, either 🙂

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