How to Prevent PowerPoint Overload

Interested in reducing PowerPoint overload?  Check out the archived recording of my March 23 Microsoft Office LiveMeeting Leadership Forum Overloadseminar titled "How to Prevent PowerPoint Overload." The online session went very well – a total of 2,107 people attended in the two rooms that were set up to accommodate the large crowd. To view the recording or to download a special PDF copy of selected slides, visit this link.

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7 Responses to “How to Prevent PowerPoint Overload”

  1. cliff says:

    Thanks Graham!

  2. MarkT says:

    I am a big believer in paraphrasing on slides – I never use complete sentences.

    I am curious what leads you to prefer complete sentences?


  3. Cliff says:

    Hi Mark – the underlying idea is to make it effortless for an audience to understand your point, so they focus attention on you as quickly as possible. Think of newspaper headlines, a commonly-accepted convention of complete sentences that helps you scan a page quickly. Using categorical headings (like “Our Company”, “Our Services”) or sentence fragments forces the audience to work harder than needed to figure out your point. And when they are trying to figure things out, they’re not paying attention to you…

  4. MarkT says:

    Thanks for clarifying – I really like the newspaper analogy.

    In a newspaper article, the headline is minimal while the body text is verbose. The headline is the style to emulate in a ppt slide, not the body text.

    I tend to take this to an extreme. I cut out filler words and am often left with sentence fragments.

    Here is a quote I like:

    “Time taken to process an n-word sentence is proportional to n^3, or more.”

    source: slide 29 (I particularly enjoyed slides 29-38)

  5. Stuart McGarrity says:

    Hi Cliff,

    I’m currently desiging my first presentation using your method but I need your advice on presenting successive levels of detail.

    Let’s say you intend to do the 45 min version so you are using all the slides. When you are talking about the stuff in a column is it best to avoid mentiong the stuff in the next column of detail? e.g. In the Consoto example in the book. When you are talking about (for 1 min) the “$10 will propel…” slide, do you refer at all to the next level of detail which you are going to say next (where the $5, $3, $2M is spent)? Do you summarize it? Or talk about something else? Can I download your consoto presentation to see you note pages?



  6. Cliff says:

    Hi Stuart – I’m glad to answer questions about the book, but prefer to do that in the discussion area so that others can share the info – the link is here:
    But to answer your question, yes, the 5-minute column should summarize the sub-points in the 15-minute column, and each 15-minute column point should summarize its sub-points in the 45-minute column. That “tells them what you’re going to tell them”, plus gives you flexibility to scale the slides up or down without losing important information.

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