Most of us assume that if we are asked to ‘give a talk’, we are also being asked to ‘prepare some slides’. Does it follow that the two should house the same information, though?

TED talks, arguably some of the best-delivered speeches available online, say that 

‘A single, strong, graphic image or succinct line of text will tell your speaker’s story better than a crowded collage of pictures or long paragraph.’

They also point out that slides should ideally be a way to depict a key point which assists the audience’s memory, or something which adds an extra dimension to what is being said.

Dr Peter Fletcher, co-Founder of Neurology Academy and Academic Director of Parkinson’s Academy,  shares the importance of ‘non-busy’ and memorable slides with every new speaker who comes to the Academies.

He ensures that TEDx talk guidelines are sent to all speakers across Neurology Academy to help speakers maximise their use of slides as an additional learning tool as opposed to a duplication of what is being spoken. After all, if the speaker is reading out the words from their slide, then either the slide, or the speaker, is obsolete. 

This may be a new way of thinking for some of us, often creating slides that are too ‘busy’ in a bid to share as much information as possible, perhaps so that those who do not hear the talk can still glean the same information from the slides. Unfortunately, this often means that the audience who is there to hear the talk is torn between reading the slide and listening to the speaker.

Peter directs his research registrars towards a particular TED talk which is both topical for their chosen profession, ‘A doctor’s touch’ by Abraham Verghese, and which demonstrates the powerful use of projected images as an adjunct to his spoken words. 

Neurology Academy encourages you to have a listen – and a watch – and see if it inspires both your practice, and your PowerPoints, in future.

  

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