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Tweets of the Week – March 31, 2017

Every day, we post two or three carefully curated presentation-, public speaking-, and dataviz-related items to our Twitter feed (@SlideSource). Here are our favorites from the past week:







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Go ahead, I dare you…

Why do rehearsals almost always tend to assume that everything will go perfectly from a technical perspective? Conscientious speakers exhaustively practice the delivery of their presentation and will usually be sure to practice answering difficult questions. The only problem is that there are many other things that might go wrong during a presentation that have nothing to do with how they are delivering the content — things that can completely derail a speaker who isn’t prepared for the unexpected.

Earlier in my career when I part of a corporate internal speaker support team, depending on the temperament of the speakers I was working with, I would simulate a projector or sound system failure. It’s not something I would do frequently and I would be sure to do it only during the more low-key, informal rehearsals. It was a terrific reminder for the speakers and it gave us a chance to talk about exactly how we wanted to handle it when these sort of things happened during the actual presentation. If you are in a position that allows you to take rehearsing to this level of realism without limiting your future career options, you should look for opportunities to practice these sort of mishaps.

Go ahead, I dare you…

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Tweets of the Week – March 3, 2017

Every day, we post two or three carefully curated presentation-, public speaking-, and dataviz-related items to our Twitter feed (@SlideSource). Here are our favorites from the past week:






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Control space, convey meaning

Controlling space is one of easiest and most effective ways you have of making your slides easier to read and comprehend.

For instance, the default settings in older versions of PowerPoint created bullet points that all had an equal amount of space between them no matter if they were top-level bullets points or sub-bullets.  Indenting and the increasing smaller font size gave some clues as to what was important and what went with what, but the uniform spacing could make it more difficult for the audience to see what the slide was trying to do.

To instantly make slides like this much more readable, simply increase the space between the top-level bullets and tighten up the spacing of the sub-bullets beneath each one so there is a clearly defined relationship that can be understood at first glance. Information that is of primary importance is clearly differentiated and it’s easier to skim over the supporting material in order to quickly get the big picture. (Quick additional hint: If you don’t have enough room to add this sort of additional space, you probably have too much on the slide and are courting death by bullet point.)

To put it simply, elements that belong together conceptually, should be close to each other spatially and elements that are not related conceptually should be distanced from each other.

This technique doesn’t just apply to text spacing. Does the chart or table on your slide have its own title? Is this title closer to the chart or to the slide’s title above it (or is just hanging there somewhere in between?). Positioning the title closer to its chart makes it immediately clear to your audience that they belong together as a unit. Now if the text above the chart is just a bullet point or two, you will want more space between it and the chart so it’s clear they are separate elements.

Remember, space conveys meaning and small changes like these can make a big difference.

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