Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why timed builds are not a good presentation practice

I have seen timed builds used twice recently and both times it left me scratching my head wondering why the presenter created their PowerPoint slide that way. A timed build is when the bullet points or items on the slide automatically appear at a scheduled interval. For example, a set of four bullet points could be timed to have each bullet point appear 15 seconds after the previous point. Timed builds, in my opinion, are distracting for both the presenter and the audience. For the presenter, they are having to concentrate so much on speaking quickly so that what they wanted to say about the topic is done before the next point comes up. It eliminates any possibility of spontaneous conversation with the audience and suggests that the presentation should just be recorded and played back on video. More importantly, for the audience it is distracting because when you see a new point or item appear on the screen, you feel compelled to look at it and read it, taking your focus away from what the presenter is saying and you miss the point they are making. A presentation should be a conversation with the audience supported by some visuals that support the message. By timing builds on a PowerPoint slide, you force the audience-presenter relationship out of the equation and create a "talking head" situation.


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