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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 4


Some times you really need all the information.  But how can you help the audience understand it better?


Technique #4

Sometimes you want the information on the same page to give the sense of perspective or relationship

What you might want to consider then is how do you do a slow reveal – or a staged reveal.


Reveal Information in Stages as You Tell the Story.

So for instance, in this example, we want to talk about our store growth over the last few years.

We could reveal all the numbers at once.

Improving PPT slides

But then what happens…

People are reading instead of listening.  Now this is s simple chart, but imagine it being more complex.  Either they ignore the chart and they listen to you, or vice versa.  They can’t do both.

But there’s an animation in PPT where you can reveal the bars one at time or in stages to reveal the information.

So if you’re in PPT – you select the chart, then select animation.

Improving ppt slides

In this case, I’m using the animation called wipe.

To the right of the animation options, notice the box that says effect options.

Improve ppt

If you click on that, and go to the bottom, you’ll see options on how to bring in the data – play around with that to see what manner of reveal makes the most sense for your story.

better ppt slides

When using this technique, imagine starting with the blank graph and saying, “I’m going to review our store growth over the last nine year.”

Then bring in information to you ppt slide

Then one by one, the number come in, and you’re explaining as you go.

better slides

Then, when you get to 2008, you mention the recession hits and our growth slowed to almost nothing.

Emphasize the point you want to make in your slide

Then you reveal the rest of the numbers.

Better slides

And you’ve told the story of what’s going on.

By staging the reveal, you’re explaining the information and able to point out what’s important that your audience cares about and what you know they need to understand.


Now another quick aside here – notice on this chart, I’ve manipulated the information to make it bigger, easier to read.

Compare this with the default way PowerPoint brings the information in.

Avoid boring PPT

It takes time to mess around with enlarging the graphs and the font sizes.  But I think it makes for a result that’s a lot easier for our audiences to read.

The staged reveal can be an effective way to provide information.


Technique #4 – Stage the reveal of the information so you can explain as you go.