I came across a presentation from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Buffalo on presentation science for educators. I thought it added a few good points regarding how we process information so have summarized the key points. Here are the highlights:
- The slides should not say everything that you do. (This is the same message that all the leading presentation experts – Garr Reynolds, Nancy Duarte, Cliff Atkinson – are saying so its not a ground-breaking thought but sets up this next important point).
- Show your slide for 14-21 seconds before talking about them to increase retention by 30%. The reason – the image will make its impression, then you complete the picture with your story.
- The average attention span is 18 minutes. Makes you wonder why we schedule everything in 60 minutes blocks.
- Two-Three slides per minute. Now this is a good point of argument – I’d say it depends, but if you do a good job of using images and not text on your slides may be effective. It really is not clear to me how this works with the second bullet about showing the slide for 14-21 seconds before speaking. Doing the math, you would have 6 to 15 seconds to talk per slide! I have seen this work, but you really need to have your talk well rehearsed to do this smoothly.
- Engage the audience every 3-4 minutes. Obviously polls can be used, but simply using chat to get feedback and draw connections from those comments to your content works too and keeps the presentation flowing.
- Color visuals increase willingness to read up to 80 percent and improves retention by 75%. Yellow is the first color that you see.