don't put your report format on your slides

What NOT to do! Don’t put your report format on your slides!

Lots of people create their slides directly from the information in the original report. In other words, they do the work, create a report about that matter, and then transfer the information (the rationale, all the bullet points, the graphs and charts and justification with recommendations) straight from the report into PowerPoint.

Please don’t do this!

A report is a standalone document that has lots of information – facts, statistics, data and graphs. A report is intended to be read like a book or a brochure. And yes, even though reports are often created in PowerPoint, that doesn’t mean they should be shown on your presentation screen.

If you show your report on your presentation screen, your audience will be confused by the small text and lack of focus. It will distract them while you are speaking. They can’t read your busy slide and listen to you speak at the same time (it’s called cognitive overload).

What should you do instead?

1. Distribute the complete report for pre-reading and bring a copy of the same document as the ‘handout’ on the day. If you’re presenting on zoom, ask people to read the document in advance and then attach it in the chat box for people to download if they have forgotten.

2. If you’re worried that the audience needs complex explanations and the details in words on a page, but you don’t want to give the full report until AFTER the meeting and your personal explanation, then perhaps create a separate document that backs up your data as a leave behind, or handout.

3. When it comes to the visual aids, be sure to just have simple images that convey your key messages on your slides.

4. Practice your presentation so you know what to say next and remember that you are the speaker, so you should be doing the speaking, not the slides!

Happy Presenting!

p.s. Need help with your slide design? MBE Design team will help you create beautiful slides that stick in people’s memory for all the right reasons. We want to be your presentation partner. Please email me today:


© Michelle Bowden 2020.  Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media.

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