Think about what you want your presentation and handouts to accomplish.

​Cutting down your presentation’s text can be one of the most liberating steps of the entire process—and the most difficult. It is painful to delete something you spent a lot of time creating. And it’s tempting to justify keeping everything to avoid what writers call “murdering your darlings.” Thinking about what you want your presentation to accomplish helps motivate you to refine your content.

​First, you want people to pay attention to your presentation.  In order to do that you must keep it short. Second, you want to maintain control over what audience members take away from your presentation.

​The more content you have, the more choice your audience has over the bits and pieces to which they choose to pay attention. By narrowing the number of choices, you have more control over their focus.

​So, when tightening the copy in your presentation, think to yourself, “Is this one of the main points that I want my audience to take away?” If not, get out your ax.

​You can see an example of a passage trimmed down to its essence on the following images:

example of a passage trimmed down for a slide

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