Friday, April 09, 2010

Does reading your slides work on video?

A fellow entrepreneur just forwarded me a link to one of the “Internet Marketing gurus” latest venture. He’s telling people that video sales letters work much better than written sales copy. Now I’m not here to debate whether that is true or not. What caught my attention is that he suggests that you create video sales letters by creating text PowerPoint slides and reading them. He claims that in his tests, this type of sales letter works better than ones that include visuals.

So I spent the time to watch his entire sales video. And I found myself struggling with the same problem that happens when a presenter stands up at the front of the room and reads their slides. I can read faster than he can speak, so I am done before he is finished reading. And when I am reading, I can’t listen to what he is saying, so I tune him out and miss what he has said. I guess he missed the research that shows that people use the same part of their brain for reading and listening.

My surveys on what annoys people about bad PowerPoint presentations have consistently showed that the biggest annoyance, by far, is reading your slides. After reviewing this video, I am pretty confident in saying that reading slides as a video is almost as annoying as doing it live. (And when you have spelling and grammatical errors, it doesn’t help your credibility.)

When you don’t include visuals such as graphs, diagrams, and photos, you miss out on the opportunity to connect visually with the audience. Text on a slide is not usually your most effective visual choice. There were many times during this video that I thought of visuals that could have made the point come alive for the viewer.

Video is just a different vehicle for communicating your message. If you are creating a video of your slides, the same principles apply: clear structure, clean design, persuasive visuals, and effective delivery. Keep those in mind and you will communicate your message effectively.


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