A slide presentation is not a white paper

10 November 2009

I followed a part of the Women & Technologies conference held in Milano today. Luckily it was broadcast live over the Internet.  The camera was generally focused on the speaker, only rarely did it zoom out and capture the slides that were behind the presenter.  As a presentation professional, I am always interested in seeing what styles and methods are used to build the PowerPoint slides.

At one time the camera did capture the screen, and this is what I saw:

wt 1The title of the projected slides was prefixed by “White paper”.  The previous and next slides were the same.

If you are presenting the key findings written in a white paper, do not copy to the slides the text of the white paper.  It is not appropriate for a slide.  You should select key facts and make a visual slide for each one.  Some of the paragraphs (justified like a printed document!) were referring to individual statistical results, wouldn’t they have looked better again with a visual slide and a large number as a caption?   Look at a  post titled “What is good PowerPoint design” on Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen blog to see a couple of  examples of what I mean.

If the audience is interested in the details, post the complete white paper on a website for them to download; don’t distract them as they try to read the text in these types of slides.  Use slides to your advantage, to enhance your presentation, to reinforce and convince your audience of your position, not as a copy of your speech.

I will comment more on the Women & Technologies slide presentations as soon as they are posted.

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