PowerPoint Tips and Things to Avoid

PowerPoint Tips and Things to Avoid

You see the whole situation unravel right before your eyes, right in front of everyone’s eyes. You wish there were something that you could do to help, but at this point it’s too late. The presentation is a goner. You cringe inwardly at the horrendous sight of the PowerPoint from hell.

The presenters should’ve reviewed it one more time before they decided to present, or at least practiced in front of someone else first. Why? Because the font is too small, it’s a weird color, and it reminds you of something along the lines of an optical illusion.

You squint your eyes with an honest effort to read the slide. You shift your attention back to the presenter, and you attempt to catch up with his explanation of his BIG idea while wishing for a pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from the UV rays exploding off of the PowerPoint.

As an audience member, have you ever seen a PowerPoint presentation that made you really wish the presenter did it differently?

As a presenter, whether at a competition or at an investor panel, have you ever seen a mistake on your PowerPoint, or noticed that the color you saw on your desktop is totally different projected up onto a screen?

This happens to the best of us, but in order to be better, here are the top three mistakes that I’ve seen on PowerPoint presentations, so that you can do your best to avoid them.

Too much text – The worst violation of PowerPointing by far is too much text on a single slide. Please understand that when you are presenting something in front of a screen, there are competing interests: listening to what you’re saying and reading what is being presented. The more text you have on your PowerPoint slides, the less people will listen to what you’re saying and the more time they will spend trying to read the text.

You really want them to listen to what you’re saying, and have the slides reinforce your story, vision, and message. I believe that an effective PowerPoint has more pictures than words, because the way to get people to care about what you are saying comes from you as a presenter talking to the audience about the problem you’re solving, how you’re solving it, and who you’re solving it for.

White text – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a PowerPoint with white text. It ends up being very difficult to read when projected. Looking at your PowerPoint on your computer is much different than having your presentation projected onto a large screen. I don’t claim to be an expert, but all I know is that white color for text is never a good idea. (And it doesn’t even matter if it’s on a dark background, it’s still a bad idea.)

No call to action – The last slide in your PowerPoint slide is the most important, because oftentimes it is on screen for the longest amount of time. That is why it’s crucial to have a call to action that you want out of your intended audience. If you just want the audience to have your information, then have your information on the slide. If you want the audience to follow you on social media, then you better make sure you have your social media on the last slide.

Be wary of having your last slide simply say “Thank You, Questions?” Remember that when you’re in front of a large group of people, there are an even larger amount of questions and inquiries and meets-and-greet possibilities. Make it easier for people to find and contact you, and simply put your information on the slide itself.

What are some other PowerPoint mistakes that you’ve seen? Please use the comment section to share your own. I think there are at least 96 more.

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