Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 246) – Garr Reynolds

Garr Reynolds – American Presentation Expert and Author of “Presentation Zen”

“Humans are completely incapable of reading and comprehending text on a screen and listening to a speaker at the same time. Therefore, lots of text (almost any text!), and long, complete sentences are bad, Bad, BAD.”

— Garr Reynolds


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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4 Responses to Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 246) – Garr Reynolds

  1. Hear hear, Garr!

    I use a couple of rules of thumb: At most around 15 words per slide, or 1 sentence. (Like the thumbs on your hands, those can bend if needed, but you wouldn’t want to break them very often!)

    You might like my recent post on this same topic: ”5 steps to replace boring bullets with audience awe”. You’ll see it’s a makeover of a (real) slide that was packed with bullets – and about 100 words. The slide ended up with about 80% less words on it, and most of them appeared just a few at a time (each time the presenter clicked their mouse).

    Not sure if you’ve posted any slide makeovers John, but if not, I think they’d be very popular. They give people something really concrete and visual to learn from – and they’re fun to do!

    • John Zimmer says:

      Craig, I finally got around to reading your post. Great job! I particularly liked the rework of the slide and how you walked us through it. I am not sure about varying the order of the bullets as they appear, but it is novel. Clearly, it would only work where the bullets are not hierarchical in some fashion. I also don’t think it would work without the particular format of the slide (image and bubbles for the bullets instead of straight-up bullet points on a blank background). But very helpful!

  2. James Reeves says:

    I like to provide handouts after the speech that summarize the take-away points. Never before, because then they’re looking at the handouts during the speech. And I tell the audience about the handouts at the beginning, so they don’t have to take a lot of notes. I use projected slides only if they can reinforce key points with very simple charts illustrations.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Great stuff, James. I do the same thing. It puts everyone at ease. Occasionally, someone will make the valid point that some people like to make notes on their paper copy of the slides. While this can be useful, the downside is as you have described. Besides, I’d like to think that most people are intelligent enough to take whatever notes they want on a clean sheet of paper.

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