What is it with word slides?


So many of you come to us saying you want to increase the engagement with your audience when you speak. It still mystifies me therefore why so many people are still adamant that word slides help with this engagement. I even had someone say to me once that if you aren’t using word slides then this is classified as a talk not a presentation. In which case bring on the talks and boycott the presentations!

For tips on presentations, words on a slide act as a distraction, it is as simple as that.


Your audience will read the words much more quickly than you can speak. They are then not properly listening to what you are saying so it is little surprise that you lose the engagement. Sure use the words in the handout document to be given out at the end for completeness but only use slides with images on when you are speaking.

Morgan Spurlock provides an excellent demonstration on the best use of slides during this presentation at TED:

So that is the theory and my rant done. I will admit that there may be one situation when you might not be able to get around this…..If your audience wants to or needs to write notes on a copy of an image you are showing e.g. a process flow or there is a real need to show a quotation as in the example video here.

My advice is still to try your hardest to avoid this though.