Right-Sizing Your Slide Decks

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Presentation: a speech or talk in which a new product, idea, or piece of work is shown and explained to an audience

From Oxford Languages

If you are creating a slide deck, it can be helpful to take a step back and think about how your slide deck is actually going to be used in real life. Is it going to be supporting a speaker in an actual presentation? Or is it going to be a standalone document that people review on their own?

When slides have too much text, audience members have to choose between listening to what you are saying or reading the text on the screen. They might not do either of them well if they don’t support each other.

If you are using a slide deck to support a presentation, it’s important to remember: your slide deck is not the presentation itself.

Know Your Audience

You’ve heard us say this more than a few times before: know your audience. What does your audience want to know? What do they need to know? How familiar are they with the content? With you? Do you need to build trust or is there already familiarity?

As always, it’s critical to get feedback from your audience. If people leave presentations with a lot of the same questions every time, that can be a powerful clue that the presentation (and maybe the slides) aren’t hitting the right note.