<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1482979731924517&amp;ev=PixelInitialized">

How Much Text on a PowerPoint Slide is Too Much?

Ken Lopez
By: Ken Lopez

Trial Graphics, Litigation Graphics, Demonstrative Evidence, Bullet Points, PowerPoint, Visual Persuasion, Information Design, Persuasion

by Kenneth J. Lopez, J.D.
A2L Consulting

Lawyers love words. Lawyers love words on slides - tons of words on slides. Some lawyers think that the more words they use on a PowerPoint litigation graphic, the better.

They are wrong. Actually, using too many words on a slide will dramatically damage your effectiveness.

This damage is not aesthetic in nature. This is not about your look and feel. It is scientifically proven damage that affects how well you inform and persuade your audience. Indeed, it can be said the higher your slide's word count, the lower your persuasiveness.

At A2L, we see this every day. Sometimes the trial team prepares their slides in draft form and they have paragraphs of text. Sometimes a trial team just converts their Microsoft Word outline into Microsoft PowerPoint. Sometimes a trial team edits the PowerPoint slides that we create by adding more words.

There are many reasons this occurs. Some lawyers mistakenly believe they are creating a record by including the text. That’s not true. The trial record is something entirely different. Some lawyers want the text on screen so that they have notes to follow and can remember what to say. Some lawyers want to quote relevant text from documents in evidence.

In just about every case, they are making a mistake.

In a nutshell, here's why too much text is a bad idea. There is hard science behind each point:

In fact, probably the only time it makes sense to have lots of text on a slide is when you are specifically trying to obfuscate and confuse. That's a legitimate tactic, but you don't want to employ it unintentionally.

Below are a number of articles and resources discussing the use of PowerPoint litigation graphics that help you think about this text problem in more detail.

powerpoint litigation graphics consultants

Leave a Comment