Can you tell your story with no text at all?

The other day I was working with a client on a presentation that had to be less than 10 minutes, and he was frustrated with the challenge of creating slide content for a talk so brief.

I said one thing to him that became a bit of a sea change.

“Why don’t you forget entirely about slides with text on them?”

[silence]

“I’ll bet you could be just as persuasive with your words, and your slides could be even more impactful.”

It needs to be said that I caught my client at a weak moment in which he was unusually receptive to such an unconventional idea. Most execs would look at me as if I were from Mars were I to suggest slides with no text on them, but the rigors of a 10-minute presentation demanded unusual measures.

His talk went beautifully. Which raises the more vital question: Could you do it? Do you know your topic well enough? And are you sufficiently in touch with the images that you would want to evoke with your audience?

If so, the search capabilities at all of the stock photo sites can help. In the case of the presentation shown here, I used the general search word “economics” to find the right imagery. I had to wade through lots of photos of currency, as well as some clichés of scales and gold bars. But it was worth the dip into the photo pool, as I uncovered photos that nicely complemented the messages of the talk.

Slides with only images on them

One PowerPoint trick to note when you intend to create text-less slides: Instead of having to switch to the Blank layout for every slide, edit your slide master so that the title and the bullet placeholders are both off the slide. Just move them out of there! Now you need only issue the New Slide command to get a blank slide.

1 thought on “Can you tell your story with no text at all?”

  1. Hi Rick,
    Great post and a great idea – approaching a presentation (particularly a short one) in this way really concentrates the attention on the message, the flow and the specific words that will do the job for the audience.
    I found on Mac versions of PowerPoint that if you hit ‘New Slide’ then ‘Slide Layout’ and change that slide to a ‘Blank’ then if you hit ‘New Slide’ again, it will bring up blank slides from that point forth.

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