Advanced Business Writing
Presentation and Graphics

Clutter

Presentation slides stuffed with too much information look cluttered. And they put your audience to sleep.

Consider this analogy regarding a presentation chart: It's not your family room; it's your supervisor's office. Would you really feel comfortable purposely cluttering up your supervisor's office? How about cluttering up her mind because you feel every part of your work is so important you should fit it all onto one page? The correct answers are: No, and No.

Here is an example of a cluttered presentation chart:

That chart is so full and cluttered it's more like a brief report than a slide in a briefing. Use the following guidelines to fix the presentation chart:

Headline: A topic is okay, but a statement is more engaging. If you write a full sentence, keep it brief and use active voice.

Bullets: Use parallel construction at each level. Only main points get bullets; supporting data get sub-bullets. Never include a whole paragraph.

Fonts: Consistently use a limited set, never smaller than 12pt.

Graphic: Support the headline. Match the text. Choose well:

A version with the clutter removed should look something like this:

Seems to show a lot less? That's the point. You will do the showing by saying what needs to be said. The presentation chart is a note card, not a page from a speech.

Lesson: Clutter
Module: Presentation and Graphics
Course: Advanced Business Writing