Multitasking @ presentation

10 November 2017
Posted By : Brandzic

We are all well aware of the modern rules for presentations delivery. Different influencers talk about the rules for the right number of words per slide, for the font sizes, and for the quadrants of text location. And, this is certainly of a great value when learning how to prepare a presentation that will make a difference.

As there are two types of presentation – live presentations, and presentations for reading - both types require a different approach and set of rules to consider. If you ask about corporate presentations – well, those are a hybrid type. We’ll discuss them in a different post.

When talking about live presentations, I have always been thinking that it doesn’t really matter whether there are three rows of three words, or total of 6 words per slide – if, anyway, reading them will distract the attention of the audience away. The reason for that - because we simply cannot multitask.

It only seems that some people efficiently succeed to do more than one challenging tasks at the same time. There are numerous studies quoting that when we are trying to do things simultaneously it is not simultaneous at all. The brain, lighting fast, just switches between different activities.

When listening to a presenter who also keeps changing slides with texts, most people need to continuously switch between what they hear and what they read on the screen, even if the text is of 6 words only. This not only distracts the attention and ruins the emotional resonance with any story, but also tires the brain from the continuous switching exercise. Thus, you would lose the attention at a double speed.

If you are a presenter, and want to capture the audience’s hearts and minds, I’d limit the text on a slide to 1 or 2 key words only. Strong visuals will successfully assist your message and will drive the emotional resonance with your story.

We do not multitask. We are visual and story learners. We easily remember what we hear when it is complemented by powerful visuals. We remember what we see when it is placed in the right context of a story. And, it is through this process that we get engaged and inspired.