8. Text

Create clear and convincing internal communications, strategic plans, research reports and other boardroom-style slides.


The biggest reason people get into trouble with PowerPoint is handling text poorly. This includes excessive use of bullet points, reading text from the slides, and sentences that are too long or too short.

There is 40 years of research among educators that shows the most effective way to communicate with text depends on the situation.

Briefing decks are presented in front of a large audience. Do not use text and pictures on the same slides, and limit your slides to 3-4 bullet points that are phrased so you can synchronize your speech with the bullet points.

Discussion decks are often provided as printed handouts for a small group discussion. The rules for briefing decks and reading decks apply, as long as the participants have printed handouts they can study at their own pace.

Reading decks are read standalone as printed handouts, or on a computer screen, without the aid of a presenter. Reading decks need more text than a briefing deck, which can be accomplished using selective reading blocks.

There is no single advice that applies to all types of decks, so learn to use text according to the situation.

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