Text-heavy slides are a common PowerPoint deck problem. That’s why you should rely primarily on visuals for your business presentations, keeping text to a bare minimum with simple labels and lists. This gives you more room to talk about your pitch.
Should text dominate your slide or will an image do on its own?
Deciding the text’s length, the image’s position, and the kind of image to use are also problems shared by presenters and advertising agencies alike. According to renowned author, Jim Aitchison, it’s best to use a single-minded approach: either the visual or the text must dominate the image.
The Postcard-or-Letter Method
The postcard-or-letter method is a choice between using a visually-led execution with a short piece of text, or a mostly text-based advertisement that still uses a visual. Consider the image and text sizes, as well as the elements’ location in your PowerPoint visual design to pull off a similar effect.
1. Image Size vs. Text Size
Simple and minimalist executions like Burger King’s Fiery Fries print ad use a dominant visual with a small piece of text. This works best for postcard-style announcements or for making a point for your business presentations.
For the opposite method, let the text occupy a dominant portion of the frame, as with the XO Beer print ads. When using the letter style, you need an interesting story to tell about your product, or an engaging activity that lets them imagine something interesting.
2. Location, Location, Location
Positioning is a crucial visual factor. To make your point clear, place your images in the middle to make them more prominent.
For comparisons, place two images side-by-side, similar to how Aitchison cites the Kaminomoto hair grower print ads. In other cases, let people see the image in the middle and your text below it, just like the early Volkswagen ads. Make either the text or image more dominant than the other or your slide will distract your audience.
The Point: Show Less to Talk More
Be as minimalistic as possible. Your PowerPoint slides only have room for a dominant visual or piece of text, not all the images or words in the world. Decide whether you need to make a point or compare yourself with the competition. Then, choose which element will get your audience’s interest, and decide where to put it to best get their attention. It’s not about how much content you can cram into your slides, but how you can use what little you have to convince your clients to do business with you.
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“5 TED Talk Secrets for Persuasive PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed July 22, 2015.
Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
XO Beer. Neil French. Accessed July 22, 2015.