We all know it. We all hate it. Yet, all of us do it at least once in a lifetime. How often have we suffered through a presentation where the slides, usually crammed full of information, were simply read to the audience? It’s not really a presentation so much as a live reading of a document meant to torture audience — or at least it seems that way. The presenter has stuffed as much information as they can onto a slide – a bad practice to begin with – then they read those overcrowded slides to an audience. Those presentations don’t work for three reasons.
This is a guest post by Shoots Veis, P.E.
Engineers use a variety of tools to complete their daily tasks. The list may include a calculator, a computer with the right software, and a book of engineering standards. These tools support the practice of engineering and make for a more productive engineer. They assist the engineer, but they do not replace the practice of engineering.
The same principle applies to an effective presentation. Visual aids, including the set of slides that are shown during the speech, should be a tool to assist with communication, not a crutch for the speaker to lean on because they didn’t prepare. Too many speakers believe creating a slide deck is all there is to public speaking. Instead of properly preparing and delivering a good speech, they rely on poorly designed visual aids to do the work for them.