This is in the vein of my “How to Write a PowerPoint Pitch” cartoon a couple weeks ago.
Presenters often apologetically refer to overly busy slides in their presentations as “eye charts”. If you ever feel compelled on-stage to apologize for showing an “eye chart”, that’s a good sign you might want to rethink your slides.
When I started my marketing career, we were trained to create “slideuments.” Half-slide, half-document, the resulting pitch decks were intended both to project in meetings and circulate separately for review. We were often restricted to a certain number of slides, but were were required to pack in a certain amount of information. So, the resulting slideuments were dense and lifeless. And full of eye charts.
Presentation Zen author Garr Reynolds describes slideuments as “the illegitimate offspring of a projected slide and a written document”. He compared them to the proverb of trying to chase two rabbits and catching neither.
“Slideuments” persist as a communication method everywhere. Companies create slideument templates, conferences request leave-behind slides to share with attendees, and many presentation slides get uploaded straight to Slideshare.
Yet the reading audience is fundamentally different from the presentation audience. The information best shared in a leave-behind is fundamentally different from the information best shared in a live presentation. If your idea is worth presenting live, it’s worth investing the time to create visual aids to put your idea in its best light.
Giving a live presentation of slideuments and eye charts is the quickest way to lose your audience.
In addition to “How to Write a PowerPoint Pitch”, here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:
“Gallery of Management Consulting” February 2009
“PowerPoint the Idea” March 2012