PPP#6 — Numbered slides mandatory

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #6: “Slides need to be numbered to provide a reference for the listeners, so that they can refer to a specific slide later.”

Why on earth should a listener ask for a specific numbered slide! Slides are there to enhance the impact of our talk, to point out a specific idea, or support our argument. Everything we say (and show) has to be aimed towards a clear point. As presenters we want the listeners to pay attention to what we are saying, to the facts that we are pointing out. Any questions from the audience would be related to that particular issue rather than to a particular slide.

If somebody askes a question about a slide, most likely the silde was so full or incomprehensible that the listener got stuck with it, and now feels the need to revisit it once more. That means we lost him or her at that point. Slides are there to support the presenter in leading the audience step by step to a final conclusion — they are just viual aids. After a good presentation no lister will ever ask to go back to this or that slide. The belief in page numbers on slides is just one more misperception of what slides are for, as if they were pages in a book. Some people still haven’t arrived in the digital age yet, they are still stuck in analog thinking. Hey guys, wake up, it’s the 21st century!

Just making each silde address one idea will help us to guide our audience where we want them to be. Busy, complex slides only distract from the message, and why should we willingly harm our own cause? If each slide deals with one idea, no one loses focus of the core message of our talk. For that we will be even rewarded — by being perceived as good presenters.

Paule Wendelberger