PowerPoint Presentations vs. Slidedocs

Nancy Duarte writes about the most overlooked vehicle for making your ideas go viral.

slidedocs introduction

Business is moving faster than ever. Our obsession with speed has caused us to weed out inefficiency on nearly every level, especially when it comes to communication. In the process, we’ve all but killed long-form business prose. We don’t have any time to read detailed, multi-page documents when we’re taking so much other information. So, we ignore them until our schedules allow a long block of time for consuming dense information—if that time ever comes. This perpetual time crunch along with the fact that people learn visual concepts better than written ones has led to shorter, tighter, visual communication becoming the go-to method for getting everybody on the same page quickly. That’s why we tend to fire up the presentation software whenever we have something to communicate.

The slide format makes it easy for people to capture great ideas and share them. But programs like PowerPoint were created to make presentations, so users feel they need to project their final products. However, not everything we create in presentation software needs to be projected. Presentations are perfect as a visual aid when presenting. However, in many cases, your audience would be best served by creating a document—but not just any document.

It’s time for a new medium that retains presentation software’s ability to both seamlessly
 integrate graphics and words and quickly travel throughout organizations. Slidedocs are this new medium. A slidedoc is a document created using presentation software, where visuals and words unite to illustrate one clear point per page. They’re meant to be printed or distributed instead of presented. The result is a medium that can be read more quickly than a document. Today, I’m releasing a free book to help you create effective slidedocs. You can view it and download it for free by going to slidedocs.com.

slidedocs samples

My books so far have advised people on how to create cinematic, sparse presentations. So, it might come as a surprise to some people to hear me support another use for slide software. But the truth is, slidedocs aren’t new. We’ve actually been creating high-end slidedocs for clients for the past 25 years. Now, we’d like to share what we’ve learned to help you spread your ideas throughout your organization. Slidedocs provides the basics and best practices for this new medium.

Read Slidedocs and reference it the next time:

  • You have detailed information to convey but you won’t be around to explain it
  • You need more detailed support for your presentation, either something that your audience can read before or receive as a hand-out after the presentation
  • You have detailed subject matter that would be more easily understood by combining visuals and text
  • You need to break complex content into more consumable chunks to help people understand the material
  • Your sales team needs modular collateral and tools flexible enough to get the right material to the right customers
  • You need to get people up to speed before a meeting so you can use the time you have with each other for building consensus

It’s been in front of us the whole time — this crazy awesome way of communicating information that’s both easily consumed and easily referenced. Only we haven’t realized the brilliance behind these artifacts because we’ve been using them in the wrong way. I want to change the way we use presentation software to create not only beautiful, cinematic slides, but also beautiful, spreadable slidedocs.