“Were you listening to me, Neo? Or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?”

-Morpheus, The Matrix

Another thought from the last High Impact Presentations program about PowerPoint design.

When creating your message, you essentially have three types of element at your disposal:

  • Visual elements – This is how you look and what you do. In other words, your appearance, your room, and how you behave.
  • Auditory elements – This is how you say what you say.
  • Words -This is what you say.

In past High Impact Presentations programs, we’ve helped participants through their PowerPoint design challenges. During the process, we’ve seen slides that look more like a PowerPoint ebook with a fancy background. Remember, PowerPoint is a visual medium. You can convey more feeling and power by employing visual images and photos over using only words.

PowerPoint Design Tip

So here’s a quick guideline when designing your PowerPoint slides:

If you really need to use words, we recommend  using the 6X6 rule. That is, use 6 words per line, and 6 lines per slide.

Just remember, your audience has to read your words. Reading is a linear process, and that takes time.

People process visual imagery holistically and it’s done much faster than reading words. Let the slides deliver the full impact of the message quickly with visual drawings and photos.

After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Using pictures on a screen can make a bigger and longer-lasting impression over words alone.

For additional ideas on public speaking and communication effectiveness, get a copy of Maximum Impact, my latest collaboration with Paul Bagan on presentation skills and tactics.

Maximum Impact Public Speaking and Presentations