You might remember that I am doing a little around presentation skills. I know it might seem like an odd match for AP Automation, but I have been getting some very positive response to the eBook I recently published entitled, “The Best Presentation of Your Life”.
I wanted to share something with you that shocks people when I teach this in person. It’s probably one of the biggest mistakes that people make when creating and executing their presentation and that is the rule of “7”.
I wish I had some foreboding music to play after announcing the rule of seven.. you will have to do it in your head. The rule of seven is simple… If you put more than seven words on your slide you have put your audience in a position to either read the words on the slide or to listen to you, but they can’t do both. The brain is a powerful thing, but most people can’t read and listen at the same time. I know there are a few of you out there that just said (probably out loud), “I CAN”. (And) I am sure you can, but the thing is you can’t do them both well together. What I mean is if you either concentrate on reading or listening you do it better as it stand alone rather than at the same time.
The Real Outcome:
The interesting thing is if you put your audience in the position of either reading your slide or listen to you talk, the real outcome is they will do neither. Because a presentation is fast-moving, your audience member will sit there is somewhat of a daze. It’s not as tragic as I am writing it, but the strategy is to make the presentation as easy on your audience as possible, and by getting the words out of your slides, and making your slides a support tool rather than something to lean on will help.
There is one exception to this rule, but you don’t want to over use it. You can have more than seven words on your slide and your audience won’t be conflicted if you read the slide. I do this with quotes, but if you read every word on every slide you can stay out of this conflict, but your audience will be sound asleep, which is a bigger problem.