As Harlan McCraney, President Bush’s fictitious speech writer in the Presidential Speechalist skit, Andy Dick asks the poignant question, “What’s more powerful than words?” His answer: “No words.” The phrase has become a fun joke around the office to help break through a slow point in a brainstorm or in any number of other situations.
And while Andy Dick meant it, and we take it, as a joke, there’s one medium where it should be the golden rule and not the gag. That place is PowerPoint presentations. And the “No Words” rule was never more evident than during a viewing of the world’s top presentations as presented by online presentation community, Slideshare.
The presentations were eye-opening. Whether they were addressing the changing face of the world’s population or introducing a new food product, each of the winners demonstrated complex topics in a clear and concise manner. How? With interesting visuals and minimalist text that grips the viewer even without the aid of an actual presenter.
So next time you’re doing a presentation, remember: PowerPoint is a visual aid designed to accompany a speaker, not a book on a screen. A picture is worth a thousand words. Make it simple, make it surprising and make the text sparse. Because just like Harlan McCraney says, no words can be a powerful thing.