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30 Days to Better Business Writing 17

30 Days to Better Business Writing 17

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Published by: molengene882 on Sep 18, 2010
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key point: fewer words = more impact

“Respect your audience,” says Edward Tufte in his Wired article, PowerPoint is evil. I agree. The problem

is that most presentations are stressful for the speaker and tedious for the audience. Typical problems

include:

Too formal

Too long

Talking but not listening

Humourless

Overly corporate and robotic

Focused on the script, not the audience’s reaction

Too little preparation

Inappropriate content and images

Jargon and clichés

In fact, presentations share many of the problems with other corporate communication. So many of the

lessons in this book will work for presentations too.

In addition, there are some specifc changes that can improve a PowerPoint presentation:

The presentation works for you.

You don’t work for the presentation. Use it to support, illustrate

and underline what you are saying but don’t read out the words on the slides. People came to hear

you speak, didn’t they?

The 10-20-30 rule.

Guy Kawasaki’s advice is that a presentation should have ten slides, last no

more than 20 minutes and contain no font smaller than 30 points. I have seen corporate presen-

tations with more than 170 slides, each full of text and diagrams. Kawasaki’s advice isn’t right for

every circumstance but it’s defnitely in the right direction.

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30 DAYS TO BETTER BUSINESS WRITING

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Fewer words.

Treating a slide like a Word document is the most common mistake in presentation

design. The fewer the words, the greater the impact.

More images.

Cartoonbank, Shutterstock, iStockphoto, Open Stock Photography, are all good

sources of pictures for presentations. A well-chosen image with a few words can have more impact

than a page full of bullet points.

quotations.

A good quotation can be as powerful as a good picture. Garr Reynolds has published a

lost of online sources for quotations.

watch other presentations.

You can learn a lot from watching great presentations by other people.

Slideshare.net and TED both have great examples.

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tODAY’s EXERCIsE

Create a presentation that follows the 10-20-30 rule and which uses strong

images on every page. Use it in place of your normal presentation and see

whether people pay more attention.

BADLANGUAGE.NET

30 DAYS TO BETTER BUSINESS WRITING

“a man maY write at anY time, if he will set

himself doggedlY to it.”

– sAMUEL JOHnsOn

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27FIND TIME FOR
WRITING

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30 DAYS TO BETTER BUSINESS WRITING

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