Words On Slides

Odyssey just posted about words on presentation slides.

My practice is to have a short declarative title on each slide that summarizes the point of whatever graphical shitte is on the slide. This way if someone loses the train of a slide, they can at least just read the title and get enough to keep following along the talk as a whole. The worst thing is to have someone lose concentration for a single slide and then be in a position where the entire rest of the talk becomes incomprehensible.

Incidentally, this is why it is important to repeat key shit a lot during a talk. If you as the speaker perceive yourself as being painfully repetitive, then you are probably repeating key points the correct amount.


  1. Trebuchet says

    And please, please, please: Don’t make your presentation consist of reading the words on the slides that everyone can see for themselves.

    I’m happy to be retired and no longer have to give, or listen to, presentations!

  2. fuckesatonne says

    Here is a list of other equally useful advice, found on exactly the same web page as CPP’s post:

    These 5 Signs Warn You That Cancer Is Starting Inside Your Body
    10 Signs Of An Affair
    How Cruise Ships Fill Their Unsold Cabins
    How to Speed Up Your PC – Tricks Manufacturers Hate
    7 Smoking Hot Celebrities with REAL Bodies

  3. Cuttlefish says

    Thank you, “fuckesatonne”, for illustrating your inability to discriminate good advice from bad ads, and serving as a recursive illustration of why no one should pay any attention to what you say. Like the coloration of poison dart frogs, your writing serves as a message to all who view it: Beware! Don’t consume!

  4. Trebuchet says

    Thank you, Cuttlefish.

    As anyone who has read my comments here knows, I’ve not been a fan of may of CPP’s posts. This one is right on.

    And now that I’ve read the link, i’ll add one thing: MS PowerPoint (may it rot in Hell) allows you to hide slides. Those hidden slides are a good place for the extra text and explanations that you don’t want in your presentation, or at least on the screen, but someone may want to read later.

  5. fuckesatonne says

    Oh, the advice is perfectly good. It is not, however, useful to me personally, as I already know it. I did, however, find the list of “smoking hot celebrities with real bodies” to be a salubrious diversion, as I had been convinced that all celebrities have fake bodies that they walk around in. Especially the ones that are approaching the flash point.

  6. Cuttlefish says

    I was going to say something about the usefulness of idiomatic speech and the pity that not all can comprehend it, but then I saw the bright coloration and realized this was another lesson! Thanks again–learning through actual exposure to the toxic contingencies is likely to be harmful, so your harmless false-alarm no-content comment is much appreciated. We can learn to avoid without suffering the harmful consequences of a comment that might actually mislead us.

    Treb–I did not know that; now I have to go try it out! If you knew my handwriting, you’d understand!

  7. Trebuchet says

    fucksatonne: Those ads are on about 2/3 of the internet these days. You must live a very sheltered life.

  8. Lithified Detritus says

    OT, but a serious question. I use Firefox with AdBlock Plus, so I never see the fucken ads. Does that mean that FTB doesn’t get paid for my views?

  9. Sunday Afternoon says

    Our Commie overlord is showing his(? not that I have any idea of Commie fucken overlord’s gender, but for some reason I associate this blogger’s typical use of language with males) age in calling them “slides”.

  10. Trebuchet says

    Powerpoint has long become obsolete dear Trebuchet.

    That sounds like a good thing, but what is the alternative? It was certainly far from obsolete in 2010 when I was still working. At least at my company.

    Are we just talking about MS Office clones like OpenOffice or LibreOffice?

  11. Trebuchet says

    Our Commie overlord is showing his(? not that I have any idea of Commie fucken overlord’s gender, but for some reason I associate this blogger’s typical use of language with males) age in calling them “slides”.

    OpenOffice and PowerPoint both call them “slides” on my computer. OpenOffice is pretty up-to-date, PowerPoint is less so.

    Back off-topic: The ad discussion in comment #2 was actually about ads on the site CPP linked to, not on FTB.

  12. Sunday Afternoon says

    @Trebuchet (#15): Good point – I had forgotten that Powerpoint has a “Slideshow” mode.

    @Commie overlord – when’s the next recipe?

  13. Karen Locke says

    What’s wrong with Powerpoint? Mind you, the ancient overhead projectors had much better resolution than computer projectors, but prepping the graphics was a royal PITA. I suppose my real complaint about modern presentations is that they’re composed on high-res computer screens, then given using low-res projectors. If you don’t take this into account, you end up presenting details that totally get lost on the the big, low-res screen.

    But I’m a geologist. When I give a presentation, I have to remember to squeeze enough words onto the slide somewhere around the graphic that the listener can take a mental break, come back, and know what s/he’s looking at. For long presentations, I also like to break things up into chunks with introductory title slides starting each chunk, just to give a head’s up that the subject is changing. But in general, if I have to have bullet points, I’ve failed the most basic presentation test: to say, not to write.

    And were I a theist, I’d wish for a special place in Hell for whoever invented those annoying slide-changing animations.

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