Reading Time: 2 minutes

Presentation Zen is a blog I’ve been following for some time; it’s written by Garr Reynolds, who is an evangelist for clear visual communications – presentation skills, in other words.

In an interesting post from April this year, Garr talks about the increasing wave of “slideuments” – documents masquerading as collections of slides. You know the ones – where the presenter pulls up a slide and says, “Of course, I don’t expect you to read everything on this”.

These kinds of slides are a bit of a pet peeve of mine – I’ve always been an advocate of visually strong slides with relatively few words (I’ve not always taken my own advice, and have usually suffered for it).

Alas, Microsoft seems rather to be in the grip of the slideument tendency (or, since the MS term for a collection of slides is a deck, perhaps deckument would be a better word). The argument used is that the deck needs to stand as a reference, ah, document once the presentation it was created for has been given. But there are ways round this; for example, a deck of slides can contain the “presentation” slides at the start which are nice and simple, and then a bunch of Appendix slides which contain the meat.

Of course it takes longer to put together a presentation in this way, which is maybe why it’s not so common. I’m always reminded of an old quote I heard (which I can’t track down – grr) along the lines of “I need an hour to prepare to give a 10 minute speech, but only 10 minutes to prepare to give an hour’s speech”.

So I’m going to start a little crusade to make internal presentations more easily digestible – at least, the ones that I create. I’ll let you know how I get on (briefly, of course).