40-word per slide on average

keep it as simple as humanly possible

This is the fourth of five thoughts addressing the topic of presentations and public speaking. For many in business, and other sectors, this is a critical subject, and one that does not receive enough attention. Contrary to popular belief, becoming a great presenter or speaker is not genetic. Great speakers develop as the result of the right attitude and outlook, skills training, and practice.

Test yourself. Try reading 40 words on a screen some 30 feet away while concentrating on what a speaker is saying about those words and related issues. You will find that you just cannot do it. Not many people can, and yet – research in the United States found that presentation slides contain an average of 40 words.

The ideal slide has no words, just an image. If words are necessary, they should be limited to a maximum of 5 or 6 per slide.

Another study in the United States found that the average presentation length was 250 minutes. Try concentrating for 250 minutes. I am not sure what the sample was here, but I am glad I was not in it.

The optimal length for a presentation is 20 minutes, if attention is to be maintained.

Try remembering the twenty of thirty points made in many presentations. Most people remember very little from a presentation because they are bombarded with an excessive amount of content and far too many points. Remember, a human being will have limited recall from any presentation, no matter how entertaining.

The optimal number of core points in a presentation is three. Up to six may be acceptable, but beyond that, presenters will be lucky if anything is remembered.

We have all sat through presentations that are complex, lacking a clear objective, and poorly structured. Such presentations are hard to create, hard to follow, and even harder to remember. Speeches with numerous diversions are entertaining when delivered by masters like Ken Robinson (one of the best TED talkers ever), but for most people, they make the speech hard to follow.

Ideally, presentations should include a clear statement of the objective up front, and employ a simple structure to address the objective with very few diversions. The objective might be restated at the end.

How often have you sat through speeches full of jargon, detailed statistics, unnecessarily scientific language, and concepts that are not elucidated? Einstein once suggested that if a person truly understands their subject, they will be able to explain it in terms that anyone can understand.

Avoid jargon, give preference to stories over statistics, and put statistics in perspective. Don’t assume understanding of new concepts – and make communication your priority. Speakers or presenters who try to look clever by using statistics, jargon, and elusive concepts rarely succeed.

To communicate well, remember the KISS principle.

In 2018 – keep it as simple as humanly possible

Source of core statistics – Custom Show, Info Graphic, Forbes, Presentation Training Institute, Corporate Communication Experts, Brandon Gaille, Magnetic Speaking, Statistic Brain, The Better Presenter and Guy Kawasaki

READ MORE – www.djohncarlsonesq.com 

D. John Carlson – Adviser and Speaker – 0402 273 350 or johnc@lincintegrated.com .

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