From recent research (of both old and new materials), here’s a few good quotes to mentally chew on:
“I ignore wordy slides because if I start to read them I stop listening and lose the plot.”
These are the words of a venture capitalist who has to sit through presentations to determine whether or not they will fund someone’s company. I’d venture a guess (pun somewhat intended) that some of your audience members would agree with that statement. As Mr. Abela says in his posting, you really can’t listen well and read at the same time. Remember that the third rule of great presentations is: “Text is for take-away”
“Remember that a presentation should not be designed to tell your audience everything you have ever learned about a given topic. The key words are selection and focus. You have to make choices between what you really need and what amounts to nothing more than trimmings and trappings” (p. 241).
I emphasize the words “selection” and “focus.” In the words of E.B. White, “edit vigorously,” people. Your audience will thank you.
“…your visual presentation is intended to support your verbal content and can never become a substitute for it.” (p. 245).
I see lots of conference websites where they’ve uploaded the speakers’ slide decks. Often when I look at these, since I don’t have the benefit of the speaker’s narration, the slides make no sense. At best, I looked at some pretty slides; at worst, I’ve misunderstood the presenter’s content.
“What you can do is come to your presentation armed with supplementary material that you can make available to anyone who requests additional information.” (p. 250).
Echoing the venture capitalist from Mr. Abela’s post above, text (and 100-row spreadsheets) is for your handouts, not for your slides.
Source: McIlroy, David. Studying at University: How to be a Successful Student. London: Sage Publications, 2003. ISBN: 0-7619-4706-X.
My best to you!