Here is a quote from Napoleon that pretty much sums up the danger of being too clever.
We see that a lot in bad PowerPoint presentations. The presenter clutters up his slides with all those animations and cheesy clip arts on top of the 10 bullet points.
All these special effects do nothing but make the audience dizzy. They distract the audience from the message. The audience sit there wondering how the next batch of bullet points are going to appear. Are they going to fly in from the left? Or from the right? Or are they just going to dissolve first and then explode? Which bells are going to ring and which whistle will be blown? It is all utter nonsense.
Listen to Napoleon! Keep it simple and don’t try to be clever.
In all your presentations, always give examples and be as specific as you can. Instead of telling your audience what you are saying, SHOW them by way of examples.
The fast-food chain Jack in the box has a sustainability page on its website. Most environmental sustainability statements are like mission statements – fuzzy, ill-defined with a bunch of happy talk.
Jack in the box is an exception.
It gives specific examples. It tells the world it has installed smart irrigation controls and low flow kitchen and plumbing fixtures which “could reduce water usage by up to a million gallons a year”.
It has increased the amount of recycled materials by “more than 20 percent”.
It has “diverted more than 50 percent” of its corporate office’s trash away “from local landfills”.
It has “decreased electricity usage by more than 7 percent in natural gas usage by 95 percent” at its corporate office.
The list goes on. The specific examples with numbers give the audience something to relate to. They can relate to the magnitude of the accomplishment.
It would be very easy to make a presentation on this without putting the audience in a deep coma.