You’re no doubt familiar with the notorious phenomenon of slide overkill, when a presentation is more like a flip book, with so many slides you think it’s never going to end. It is once again useful to put yourself in the audience’s shoes here. Even the smartest of people have a limit to their intellectual capacity. In order to understand a presentation, we need to concentrate on what is being shown and said – in an environment not always conducive to concentration.
The worse thing that can happen during a presentation is the audience getting left behind. And confused and frustrated looks on the audience’s faces will further unsettle the presenter. So it’s advisable to minimize the number of slides and not overwhelm the audience. You’re better off just showing the absolutely essential. If you think the odd extra slide may be helpful, have this as a backup (e.g. an appendix), and only show it if the topic is discussed. The audience will be impressed if you are able to flick to a back-up slide when asked a question – it shows you’re very well prepared and have deliberately kept your presentation streamlined. They’ll thank you for it.
The individual slides should also be kept concise. Just like the presentation itself, you shouldn’t overload the slides. As a general rule of thumb, each slide should only ever contain one single statement.