Are your PowerPoint slides damaging your reputation?

conference presentationAny time I join a meeting and see dull black text projected on a plain white background, a little piece of my soul dies.

Word slides are the worst. Not only are they proven to be ineffective, but they imply that you may be out of touch and behind the times. Which is a terrible position for a communication professional to be in.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the word-filled slide is the presentation world’s equivalent to two spaces after a period.

I know, I know! You could line up an army of passionate supporters for two spaces, just as I could present evidence from graphic design professionals showing why it’s wrong.

But the bottom line is this: ageism exists. And just as two spaces after a period suggests a an early era when many of us toiled away in typing classes on our IBM Selectrics, the dense, wordy slide says something just as clear. It says you’re not keeping up with the times.

TED Talks have changed the landscape

TED Talks have dramatically changed audience expectations for what a presentation should be. As a result, the bar has never been higher for presenters of every kind, from professional speakers to everyday PowerPoint users.

TED Talks reflect three changes in particular:

1. Audiences expect presentations to be shorter and more focused. When I started writing speeches for corporate executives 20 years ago it was not unusual to put together a 45-minute presentation. Recently I worked on a conference where we had 90 minutes for the opening session and filled that time with 20 different speakers—on stage, on video and via panel discussion.

Read the full article on CW Observer.


Rob Biesenbach will present the speed presentation “A Simple Guide to Creating TED-style Slides” on 6 June.

About the Author

Rob BiesenbachRob Biesenbach is a corporate communication pro, actor and author. He’s written hundreds of speeches for CEOs and other executives and is a professional speaker himself. He’s a former VP at Ogilvy PR and press secretary to a state attorney general. A Second City-trained actor and improviser, Rob has appeared in nearly 200 stage and commercial productions. He brings these two worlds together in his workshops and books, including his latest, 11 Deadly Presentation Sins.