PowerPoint text overload doesn’t just happen. Yes, it happens because of "good" reasons, or reasons that purport to be good! So, typically you choose to use PowerPoint in your presentation for several reasons, such as…
And, of course, you can't doubt the logic behind these. They're good, solid reasons to use the world-leading presentation software.
But have you ever thought about what happens when you build too much information into your slides?
Multimedia Learning Research: PowerPoint Text Overload
Research (Richard E Mayer, The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning-Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology) shows that your audience has a problem when it tries to assimilate the same information from two different sources…at the same time.
What happens when you build too much information into your slides?
The problem occurs when you fill your PowerPoint slides with bullet point lists or paragraphs of text and then start to read out the projected text.
So what happens is that your audience tries to read the text on the screen. That’s at one speed. And, at a different speed, they try to listen to you reading the same text. The result? Confusion. There’s a good example of PowerPoint overload with this conference presentation in New York. And this death by PowerPoint shareholders presentation was equally hard going.
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Presenting To A PowerPoint Audience With Too Much Text
When members of your audience become confused they switch off. That’s because their working memories have become overloaded and they have become frustrated. However, as a presenter, it’s not the reaction you want. Since you want an engaged and participant audience, not an audience that's switched off in boredom! So, part of the answer is less text on your slides. And the other part is better verbal communication from you!
How To Avoid Text In Your Presentation
Here are two very simple ways for a presenter to avoid PowerPoint text overload when you give a presentation.
- 1Cut The Text From Your Slides.
- 2Stop Reading The Text On Your Slides As You Present.
That’s it. Less text, more visuals and more focus on you, the presenter.
For more tips on how to avoid PowerPoint text overload you can always join us for a presentation skills course or organise a corporate training day.
“The idea behind most of these briefings is for us to sit through 100 slides with our eyes glazed over, and then to do what all military organizations hope for…to surrender to an overwhelming mass.”
Richard Danzig, Navy Secretary