- February 7, 2014
- Posted by: Topher Morrison
- Category: Blog
In the 25 years I’ve been a professional speaker I’ve noticed certain things come up year after year, time after time, that make a presentation weaker. When speakers include these things in their powerpoint slides it often turns your audience off and make it hard for them to hear what your really trying to say to them. The good news is that these mistakes are quick and easy to fix.
1. Pictures of yourself
Being a speaker is a very strange profession. People pay to have us tell stories about our lives, but in reality, they don’t really care about us. They care about themselves. Finding that balance between sharing a life event which has a lesson worth hearing, and just talking about our lives is a finely defined line. Here’s one of those lines.
Contrary to what most speech coaches tell you, you should NEVER have a slide or slides in your presentation that have pictures of you on vacation, being successful, standing in front of your Bentley or boat. You don’t want pictures of you standing in front of your mansion or standing beside Marilyn Manson (generally speaking in business, standing beside Marilyn Manson anywhere is probably a bad idea).
Here’s why these slides are a terrible idea. You want your audience to walk away thinking, “I can do that!” In other words, you want them to create very vivid images of them in their head standing in front of their own Bentley, in front of their own mansion, and standing beside the celebrities that they dream about rubbing shoulders with. If they are looking at pictures of you doing that, there isn’t any room in that picture for them. Get rid of your ego, and get out of the pictures so your audience can find the space for them to occupy their dreams.
So why do people feel the need to use these slides? Because they have been told that they have to make sure the audience respects them and sees them as credible. That’s all well and good, and I agree that a bit of respect goes a long way. The easiest and most humble way to do that is covered in my other free download “how to gain instant respect from the audience.”
2. More text than pictures
The audience is there to listen to you speak. If they wanted to read something, they can buy your book. All too often speakers fill their slides with way too many steps in bullet point format, and paragraphs that look like they are writing the next Harry Potter novel. Audiences are conditioned to write down whatever the see on a slide. If you have too much text on your slide the audience will spend too much time writing down word for word what is on your slide, and they won’t even hear what you are saying. Words on slides are best if they are conceptual or induce questions in the audiences mind, the answers of which, will be the solutions to their problems.
3. Words or pics without any contrast
Speakers invariably design their slides on their PC or laptop. The contrast on an LED screen is beautiful and crisp. It’s easy to read when the screen is only 20 inches from your nose. But when those slides are projected onto a wall from a projector, which more times than not is old, outdated, and weak in lumens, the pictures dissolve into indiscernible shapes, the text disappears into the background, and what’s left is a speaker saying something to the effect of, “well you can’t really see it on the screen, but this is a picture of…. “ Or they have to read all the text to the audience which then turns into the annoying task of repeating yourself until the slowest writer in the room has written down everything you have said for the 20th time.
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