A client recently sent over a deck of slides for a big presentation on leadership. The first slide was a quote from Jack Welch, the former GE Chairman.
“My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.”
What a great quote!
But what value do you add to the audience by putting it on the slide? We think none at all. That’s why we advise our clients never to put quotes on slides.
Remember that the speaker is the most important visual; far more important than any slide. You’re there as a leader to influence your audience with your ideas and your intensity.
When you put a quotation on a slide, you undermine your presentation by diverting attention from you to the slide.
And you certainly don’t undermine the impact of the quotation by delivering it without the slide. Indeed, we think it’s far more impactful to look at the audience and state the quote from memory, or if necessary from a cheat sheet.
You stand before your audience with a blank screen. Here’s how you start.
“We’re here today to discuss leadership training. And when we’re talking about this issue, I’m reminded of a quote from Jack Welch. He said, ‘My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.’”
Now that’s the way to grab your audience’s attention! Having your audience look at a slide while you read it to them won’t have near the impact.
By the way, if you’re looking for quotations to use in presentations try wikiquote.org.
Joey Asher has worked with thousands of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations” is available now. He is also the author three previous books including “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You from the Competition”, “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers” and “Even A Geek Can Speak.”