Are you familiar with the term “word wall?” We recently encountered many word walls during our time at a conference. Imagine this: you’re seated in a conference room, staring at a screen filled edge-to-edge with words in a small font. Despite your best efforts to squint and engage with the content, the speaker’s words become background noise. Read on for tips on avoiding the word wall and making your presentations engaging.
Why Word Walls Don’t Work
Many of us create our presentations with an old-school mentality, as if our audience will print them out and pore over them. This might have been the case two decades ago, but it’s certainly not today. Word walls are a relic of past presentation styles.
Modern presentations are often delivered via webinars or conferences, where screen size and visibility are not within our control. Handing your presentation to a conference organizer only to have it displayed on a small screen eliminates the opportunity for your audience to engage when your presentation is too word intensive.
Improving Your Presentations
Fortunately, there are many ways to enhance your presentations. An information-packed slide can be divided into several slides, each focusing on a single idea. Alternatively, using more visuals or infographics can help illustrate complex concepts effectively.
We recall a few firms at the recent conference who had a short 10-minute presentation slot but attempted to cram 40 slides worth of information into it. Instead, their time would have been better spent carefully distilling their content to fit the allotted time frame.
Your Presentation’s Purpose
It’s important to remember that your presentation isn’t intended to be a comprehensive prospectus. Its primary purpose should be to spark interest and initiate meaningful conversations. Instead of overwhelming your audience with a flood of words, aim for clarity, conciseness, and intrigue. Your audience will appreciate a well-structured, engaging presentation that respects their time and educational needs. It also positions you as a thoughtful, effective communicator – a trait that’s highly valued in a complex industry.