Blaming The Audience

Have you ever seen a speaker angrily scold an audience – for something that was his fault?

A few weeks ago, I attended a speech by a well-known political strategist (out of respect for the client who hired him, I will not name him here).

In fairness, the strategist was one of the best public speakers I’ve seen. He grabbed the audience’s attention during his first sentence and kept it until he left the stage. But he twice accused the audience of sitting too far away to see his PowerPoint slides, even challenging a woman toward the back of the room to read the text at the bottom of a slide to the entire room.

A professional speaker should know better.

No speaker should ever create slides that can’t be seen in the farthest reaches of the room. The speaker had a few alternatives. He could have:

1. Broken it Up

By dividing each slide into several slides, the speaker could have ensured each slide would contain less information.

2. Showed Only The Highlights

By listing only the most critically, important data on the slides, the speaker could have verbally alluded to the less vital information.

3. Left It Behind

By banishing the less important information from his talk altogether, the speaker could have saved that material to verbally fill in the details if needed.

All three options would have allowed him to increase the font size of the presentation, allowing even people in the hallway to see it with ease.

Here’s the bottom line: If you need to keep shrinking your font to make your information fit on a slide, you probably have too much information. Eliminate some text. Aim for a PowerPoint font size of at least 28.

By doing so, you’ve not only saved the audience some eye strain, but you’ve spared them a misdirected lecture, as well.