Increasingly, presentation meetings are about discussing a proposal for investment or a product sale, rather than confronting an audience with an idea for the very first time. People have gotten the basic idea in material they saw beforehand.

So, there is a new role for busy slides, meant for pondering on a desktop screen.

A number of things can make slides busy:

  • Too many topics/ideas to cover
  • Lots of filler/buzzwords that inflate a simple point into a paragraph of prose
  • Complex relationships, dependencies, architectures, pricing models

The first two are a no-go, even for presentations that are meant for reading. The third option however, can be useful. In many cases, it is virtually impossible to visualize a complex timeline or network in a series of slides with pretty pictures and one word on them.

Some guidelines how to design these useful slides crammed with content:

  • Think about every word/label you type, can it be shorter, and if so, will we save an entire line?
  • Grid, grid, grid: make sure everything lines up with everything where ever possible, this will make the composition calmer on the eye
  • Hierarchy: create multiple layers of insight, big bold ones that catch the eye immediately, smaller subtle one for the reader who has more time
  • Use color to connect items

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