Pic: Business Week
A big part of the art of PowerPoint is the ability to write slides with clear, short sentences.
So your ideas leap off the screen with the power they deserve.
So your bullet points never stray into the fatal second line.
So you can save money on AV because you won’t need a wider screen.
Over the next couple of posts we’ll look at how to whip flabby slidewriting into a lean, buffed’n’sculpted message.
The largest single flab generator is using the passive rather than active voice.
Here’s a typical passive slide sentence:
“Conferences are being held by all state offices.”
And here’s the active version:
“All state offices are holding conferences.”
“It is hoped that the program will be a success.”
“We hope the program will be a success.”
See how it’s shorter and clearer?
Start with who’s doing the thing, then tell them what they’re doing.
Politicians like to use passive sentences for their evasive powers:
“A wiretapping operation was implemented.”
By who? Your audience wants answers on that sort of thing, at a subconscious level. If you write and speak in the passive voice, you come across as a bit evasive. The audience feels that they’re not getting clear information, so they switch off.