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  • Writer's pictureStu Lloyd

What's wrong with this slide?

Recently I was delivering a session on Design Thinking to the CEO and senior AsPac players of a global chemicals company (no naming and shaming this time.)

As part of their new customer-centric attitude, they'd invited a major customer of theirs to make a briefing on the India market.

Which he proceeded to do.

Very informative talk ... BUT!

As you can see from the attached slide you can imagine his talk was Death by Powerpoint! We've all experienced that before, right?

As he talked, I could see and feel the audience disengaging. Not because what he had to say wasn't interesting, but because we were READING the slide, and he was relegated to some kind of distracting background noise. His spoken words were now fighting against his written words. And neither was going to win.

3 things (at least) wrong with this slide:

1. Font too small. MINIMUM 30 POINT font size is desirable.

2. No image. We process visual imagery 60,000 x faster than words.

3. Too many words. The words were not really for the audience's benefit, they were probably for the speaker's benefit so he could remember what to say. (214 words in his slide by the way. I know because after I read them, I still had time to count them as he spoke!)

Of course all of these are related. If you've got a great pic, you have less area for words. And if your font size is bigger, you can fit less words in the first place.

Ask yourself: what's my KEY TAKEOUT here? What's the ONE thing I want my audience to know?

Include that on your slide. Aim for a maximum 10 words.

Make it your throughline - like the coathanger that the rest of your message and points hang off. And if they don't support that point, well they don't belong in that section or in your talk.

What about all the other supporting points and data? Say them by all means if they fit there. And create a leave behind which gives them more meat on the bone.

But no one's going to want to know more if you already killed them with your Powerpoint.

So how would I re-design this slide better?

I believe the main message is on line 3: "India still continues to be fastest growing major economy across the globe."

BOOM! There's your throughline. And let's make use of the vivid colours of the Indian flag. If there's only 1 thing I want you to know as a result of my talk, it's this ... BANG - you got it right between the eyes, now you can sit back and enjoy this talk about the Indian Economy.

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