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Clearness vs. Cleverness

July 13, 2010

My advice… be clear first and clever second

An important message to keep in mind at all times is to make sure that in your presentation your message is absolutely and unmistakably clear. This above all else should be the focus of your efforts when creating your presentation. You can worry about how “cleverly” you use your visuals etc after that. Although it is nice to have people comment on the amazing transitions you used, at the end of the day you want them to remember the “meat” of the presentation.

So, once you have crafted a clear message it is then up to you to ensure that any “cleverness” you do end up using does not end up interfering with the message. For example, using a distracting array of transitions between slides, might distract from what the slides were trying to communicate. A font that might indeed be cool and… “unique” (it’s probably unique for a reason!), might also distract from the clarity of a slide and so too might using every text animation effect that Powerpoint provides you with.

Remember, in order to ensure that your message gets across and is understood always choose Clearness over Cleverness.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2010 10:25 am

    To be Clear is to be Clever, clever in saving time, using fewer words to get your point across, using fewer of your viewers brain cells to collate what it is being said, using less of his or her time to be informed or made aware of something or other that should be of interest to them while their mind wanders to whats on the Telly Tonight?? So it does also need to be distracting from the wind wandering to cleverly bring the points back into focus, so entertaining even, involving more to the point dare I say interactive. Short, Sweet to the point, entertaining and informing, looking for feedback and indeed commitment to the very end. Keep us all awake and on the edge of our seats to hear more, ie. the points should not detract from the presenter, I think the presenter needs to be passionate and animated about what it is they are talking about and the slide show just a point of interesting referance. – Garvin

    • July 13, 2010 10:53 am

      Agreed, to be clear is a clever decision, although I’m sure you understand which way I was using the word, as in “look at this clever thing I got my slides to do, after every slide it spins around 38 times”.

  2. July 13, 2010 11:02 am

    It is good having the technology doing something clever, particularly something it was not really ever designed or meant to do, but the slide spinning has little to do with the content, and the content spinning might just be a distraction, particularly 38 times, unless you are selling a spinning top, you might just be too clever with the technology leading to the reverse of what you intended, in that the cleverness is now distracting from the content.

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