I was recently in Canada and stayed with my brother and his family in Toronto. In the shower, there was a bottle of this Irish Spring soap. How convenient: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash and 24-hour deodorizer all in one! I mean, the next step in the product’s evolution should be to have it sing “Oh Danny Boy” every time you open it.
But while you might be able to get away with something like this in soap, you cannot do it with your PowerPoint presentations. What do I mean? I mean that PowerPoint slides serve one purpose. Not two, not four, not five.
So often, people tell me that their slides have to be good on the screen and good as a handout. Once, a senior executive of a well-known multinational company told me that the house rule was that slides had to be (a) good on the screen, (b) good as a handout, and (c) good for those who didn’t even attend the presentation. My response was, “Good luck.”
PowerPoint slides serve one purpose and one purpose only: to complement your presentation. That’s it and that’s how they should be designed. If you want to hand out your slides, that’s fine, but don’t fill them with text because that will ruin the presentation. There’s a reason why Microsoft created different software for Word, Excel and PowerPoint … it’s because each type of document serves a different purpose!
Your slides are not a manual or a novel or a report or a memorandum. They are slides; treat them as such. (And don’t forget to shower before your presentation.)