One of the common questions we have from client’s is about the amount of text that should be on a slide. The answer: As little as possible. Our answer boils down the methodology we apply to our presentations.
Audiences can’t read and listen, so when they can just read word for word each bullet point from the screen they will switch off from you and just read the slides. Therefore, text should be kept to a minimum.
When is it OK to use text?
When you can’t use visuals, diagrams or pictures you’ll need to use text. The main occasions you should use text are the following:
In titles – Slides need a title to provide context of the information about to be delivered.
In labels – For example graphs, need labels in order to make any sense. You may also need to label sections of diagrams or an image.
In quotes or sources – When quoting or displaying a testimonial, you should have it on the screen word for word. This doesn’t, however, mean that you should read it out –let your audience read it!
In a value proposition – Your key benefits should be displayed throughout your presentation, to reinforce your messages.
Apart from these, you should use images, graphs and diagrams to get your messages across effectively.
To summarise you should use text, but only very little amounts. To make an effective presentation you should use images, graphs and diagrams.