My recent post about a bullet point heavy Web 2.0 presentation on slideshare tickled one of you to write in and say that, although they agreed with me as to how dull and wordy the slides were, they wondered why the presentation was getting lots of hits.

Well I think you have to remember that a stand alone presentation is a very different animal from a presenter lead one.    In a live presentation, most of the content should be communicated verbally and non verbally by the human presenter rather than the slides.   In a slideshare presentation, you don’t have the presenter in either audio or visual mode so you have to rely on the slides, hence they need to contain more information.  Also you can read the information at your own pace.

If you use one slide deck for both uses, the live one will almost certainly fail because of the interference and overload that occurs when your audience are trying to listen to your words and read the script on the screen at the same time.    When we read words, we turn them into an internal audio sound track which is almost certainly out of sync with that of the presenter leading to confusion and dissonance.

So in summary, don’t design your presentation to be all things to all men.   If you need to have a version viewable on the net, make sure it’s different from the one you use to present from.   Your audience will thank you and so will I.


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    • Gavin Meikle on 18/01/2011 at 12:20

      Thanks for the feedback. Its great to know that there are other people out there who care about this stuff. If you have any other questions or topics please let me know and I will be happy to post on them. The Presentation Doctor

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  4. johnny on 01/01/2009 at 08:46

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  5. Simon - presentation skills trainer on 18/12/2008 at 13:31

    Thank heavens for a sane posting like this one! All too often we train people who try to go even one step further and are upset when we tell them they can’t use their slide deck as a paper report!


  6. Simon Morton on 02/12/2008 at 22:20

    I couldn’t agree more – well said, Gavin!

    I recently spoke at a conference for RIBA on exactly this topic – a short summary of the presentation, audio and visual, is available here:


  7. Jan Schultink on 29/11/2008 at 06:07

    In a post on my blog I tried to define different presentation formats for different presentation settings:
    Input welcome.

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