Why to Avoid too Much Text in Webinars

By Sharat Sharan, John Carucci

Asking your webinar attendees for an hour of their time and attention is a lot to ask, but forcing them to stare at slides filled with endless text is sheer torture. It’s the easiest way to drive people away from your webinar.

The bullet list goes down as one of the great presentation innovations, but unfortunately, overuse has dulled its appeal. After a few PowerPoint slides crammed with too many large dots preceding some words, your audience will start to tune out.

Since the days of the seminar in a hotel ballroom, presenters have struggled with the problem of excessive text, making the bullet list a great way to simplify things. But too many lists are just as unbearable as the excessive text that preceded them, making bullets more overplayed than Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” A bullet list is still a functional tool, but you need to rein it in.

Compelling slides combined with great storytelling is the key to keeping your audience’s attention and getting your message across.

Consider the following:

  • Limit the amount of words you put on screen: It distracts the audience from the host. Remember, the speaker is the storyteller, not the slide, so you want the audience concentrating on listening to what he has to say, rather than looking at the slide. If there’s a need for lots of words, it’s better for them to flow eloquently from the presenter’s mouth.

  • You want to compel the audience with imagery, not word slides: The best presentations tell compelling stories that are supported by engaging visuals.

  • A few bullets go a long way: When using bullets, be sure they are not used in mind-numbing numbers and that they highlight key points. One idea is to summarize your words and pictures with a bullet list at the end of each section.