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  • Writer's pictureLiza Engel

To Slide or Not to Slide - The Great Presentation Question

Navigating the world of presentations is an art form that I love, both what you're saying and how you're saying it. My journey through countless presentations on both sides of the speakers podium has seen its ups and downs. I am easily drawn to a perfectly designed slide, and I've also learned the hard way that an overreliance on visuals can overshadow the essence of our message.

Let me take you back to a presentation that reshaped my approach to presenting. Many years ago, I experienced the most pivotal presentation of my life. I was captivated by a presentation that felt nothing like a corporate presentation; it felt more like a revelation. We were sitting in a boardroom designed for serious meetings that would normally come with a pile of pre-reads with 6 pt font, but today an agency team, fresh from London with all their style and coolness, prepared to unveil their vision. I was transported as the room lights dimmed, and a single, engaging voice broke the silence. Speaking to our small group, the presenter's masterful storytelling, supported by beautiful and mesmerizing visuals, created an immersive experience. He had me at Hello. It wasn't just the content but the profound connection it forged through universal truths that reshaped my presentation approach. At this moment, I decided that densely packed slides should be a thing of the past, and I was looking forward to a narrative-driven journey. This was my aha moment.

Before defaulting to PowerPoint for your next presentation, consider the essence of your message. What is the purpose? What impact (SIO) do you aim to achieve? How can your delivery best serve your audience?

Say Yes, to slides when you need to:

  1. Break-down Complexity: Break down elaborate concepts into understandable segments.

  2. Highlight Key Messages: Employ visuals to etch your crucial points in memory.

  3. Captivate and Engage: Maintain your audience's attention with compelling visual narratives.

  4. Guide Your Story: Use visual signposts to lead your audience through the narrative landscape.

Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash

Yet, there are occasions when the absence of slides can elevate your message. Embrace the elegance of simplicity. Whether in smaller gatherings or sharing deep insights, the resonance of your voice and the authenticity of your message can hold power beyond imagination. In these instances, the clarity of your message, powered by your genuine self, takes center stage. You are enough.

Say No, to slides when your main goal is to:

  1. Create Connections: Address your audience personally, transforming spectators into participants.

  2. Encourage Dialogue: Foster an environment of exchange rather than a one-way monologue.

  3. Emphasize the Message: Allow your words to be the hero of your presentation.

In my practice, I often balance visual aids and the depth of narrative, custom-tailored to the audience and the message at heart - a beautiful, thought-provoking image with a maximum of 6 words. I recently presented myself with this slide below to describe where I come from and who I am. What would you say if you only had six words to describe yourself?

Photo by Yann Bervas on Unsplash

Your audience might only remember three things you said, and they will surely remember how you made them feel.

Three steps to achieve balance and simplicity to be memorable:

  1. Audience Centric: Mold your presentation style to echo the pulse of your audience.

  2. Pursue Simplicity: Let clarity and genuineness be your guiding principles, irrespective of slide use. Aim for simplicity, and then revise and reduce even more.

  3. Prepared and Personal : Profound familiarity with your content ensures a seamless and impactful delivery.

The presentations that become etched in our memory establish a genuine connection. As you gear up for your next presentation, remember that the essence of your impact lies not in the visual tools but in the sincerity of your delivery and how you deliver it.

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1 Kommentar

26. März

Agree 100%! We often rely on using all too packed slides for our presentations – I have also been guilty of this.


I sometimes use GIFs for my slides. Even in a business presentation, a well-placed GIF can help refocus people’s attention and provoke a certain reaction. Clearly they don't fit every situation, so I try to use GIFs wisely, sparingly and in the right context.


Love the cowgirl wisdom!

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