Speakers: DECLUTTER. . .


"NO SWEAT Public Speaking!" - DeClutterE Declutter EVERYTHING!

The goal of your talk is:
“The Audience GETS IT!

They don’t have to agree with everything you say, but they do have to understand it.

DECLUTTERING the Components, Parts, and Elements of your presentation
can help you reach that goal!

The Tenets to Follow for DECLUTTERING Are:

  • Clean – Simple – Zen-like

  • Less is More!

Apply Those Rules to the Following:

  • There are good reasons to use props. People learn three ways: By seeing, hearing, and doing.
  • Because over half your audience are visual learners, props, when used correctly, can help them GET IT!
  • Props should be large enough that everyone in the audience can see them and easily determine what they are.
  • Keep them out of sight until the point in your talk where they are needed. Otherwise they are a distraction to your presentation.
  • Put props out of sight when finished so they are not a diversion.


  • A Slide Presentation is a prop. It is a tool. It is not the presentation!
  • Use high quality, universally understood images.
    • Otherwise, it’s the equivalent of showing people Rorschach (Ink Blot) images. Individual interpretations will vary, and people will GET different meanings from your presentation.
    • Those images should have a white background with no distractions in them.
    • One image per slide is usually best.
  • When constructing your slides, use Simple

    • Build Ins
    • Build Outs
    • Transitions
    • Templates
  • A White background Template, with nothing but the image you place in it, in most cases, is best.
    • Other colors, unless done with great care, make images hard to see.
  • Insert Blank (Black) slides, at strategic intervals into your presentation.
    •  They will take the audience’s attention off the screen and onto You, the presenter.
  • Eliminate, except perhaps on the first and last slides:
    • Logos
    • Copyright
    • Contact information
      • If they like your “stuff.” they will seek you out!
    • Dont Use:
      • Fancy Fonts
        • Use Arial, Gills Sans, or Helvetica
      • Crazy Colored Fonts
      • Page Numbers
      • Dates
  • Bullet Points Kill – Kill the Bullet Points!
    • Bullet Points do not reinforce your message!
    • They
      • Confuse your audience.
      • Complicate your message.
      • Conflict with your presentation.
    • Study after study confirms: We Cannot Multitask!
    • When you have Bullet Points on your slide, the audience is reading a different line than you are speaking. This makes for a disconnect!
  • Get a Good Wireless Remote Control
    • It is distracting, as I’ve witnessed many times, to continually walk to the presentation laptop to push the “Forward” Key.
    • Your Wireless Remote should allow you to:
      • Advance slides and go in reverse.
      • Control the volume of audio in your presentation.
      • BLANK the screen to take the attention of the audience off the screen and place it on You!
      • Have a laser pointer.

Personal Appearance

  • Don’t Wear
    • A name tag, ribbons, etc.
    • Your cell phone, pedometer, or pager (yes, they still make them), where they will be noticed.
    • A wild and distracting:
      •  Tie, shirt, sport coat, eyeglass frame, dress, hat, shoes, etc.
    • Jewelry that catches light and shines.
  • All the above is Clutter and distracts the audience.
    • Think about Steve Jobs’ Clean and Simple “uniform.”
      • Plain black turtleneck sweater, jeans, and sneakers.


  • Every industry, age group, and region has buzz words, acronyms, technospeak.
    • Don’t use them:
      • In a guest post, your blogpost, a comment, white paper, or offline article; use language everyone will understand without constantly looking through a dictionary.
      • In your writing; online and offline.
      • Speaking.
        • An audience will not be impressed when you talk in language they don’t understand.
        • No one wants to feel stupid.
        • Rather than ask, “What does that mean?” they will tune you out.
      • This applies to what they read as well as what they hear.


  • Here, as in your slide presentations, the same rules apply.
    • Intros and Outtros, transitions, language, and backdrops should all be Clean and Simple.


  • Don’t!
    • Unless you are conducting a Workshop.
      • In that case, try to ensure people don’t look ahead in the material.
    • They are distraction and have the same negative effect Bullet Points have in Slide Presentations.
    • The audience will be reading a different section or sentence then you are presenting and there will be an extreme disconnection.
  • If you must have Handouts:
    • Distribute them after your talk.
    • Email them after your presentation.
      • This is also a great way to build your database!

Follow the above suggestions for DECLUTTERING Your presentations and they will be – NO SWEAT!

For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you Two FREE Gifts:
An Elevator Speech Template and an Elevator Speech Worksheet. 

(Who hasn’t struggled with their Elevator Speech!)

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About the Author
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book,
“No Sweat Public Speaking!”
Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their
Public Speaking and Presentation Skills.
They do this because we perceive really great speakers to be Experts.
Perception is reality, and we rather deal with Experts.

They also know:
Speaking Opportunities are Business Opportunities.
Speaking Opportunities are Career Opportunities.
Speaking Opportunities are Leadership Opportunities.

He shows them how to:
Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with –

Fred E. Miller

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  1. Fred,
    To me, this is one of your most helpful blogs on presenting.
    Great job. Thank you.

  2. Fred E. Miller says:

    Joy Ann,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Eliminating Clutter helps make your presentation – NO SWEAT!

  3. Terry says:

    These are great speaking tips!

    I will now stop using bullet points on a power point presentation.

  4. Thanks for posting that comment, Terry!

    Without bullet points it will be easier for your audience to GET IT!

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