Editing for clarity does not always add clarity

You emailed the presentation to your boss, and it comes back the next day with the comment: “I edited it for clarity”. What this means is that she edited the text in the first few slides, but probably ran out of steam after page 14.

Bosses have this urge to take out the fountain pen and start scribbling (could you print that slide deck please?), especially on first pages. They do not take the time to digest the entire slide deck (20 minute story), but rather want to make sure the summary page is right. Make sure the vision is in. Make sure that we mention that benefit. Make sure to emphasize the long history of the company.

Editing text is useful for books or legal contracts, text on a presentation slide can only absorbed 50%. The audience will not remember how you put that sentence exactly.

So, spending a lot of time on carefully crafting sentences is not the best use of your time. Given that, why not focus on writing short, punchy headlines and add the nuances in your verbal explanation.