Can we use just a little bit of text? Please?

The abiding question on many lips in trying to improve presentation is, “Can we just use a little bit of text on our slides?” Of course you can. You can also break the speed limit a little bit. You can do a little bit of meth. You can smoke just a few cigarettes. You can just be a little bit racist. You can steal just a little from the supermarket. And you can use just a little text. Because I know you’re going to give it up. I know next time you’ll use even less.

I suggest a much better way is to start from your storyboard, written on paper, not on powerpoint and ask yourself, precisely which individual steps would benefit from illustration. Not all of them require it.  And then, when the urge comes to put words in instead of images, just answer the question, “why this word, why now?” And write that reason down on a piece of paper. “Signposting”, “to help learning”, “for the handout” and “because I need to” are not valid reasons, they are excuses.

Improving your presentation is not about reducing the number of words on your slides.

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