Ah, PowerPoint. Love it or hate it, it is here to stay. Sadly, we've all experienced bad presentations. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:

  1. Focusing on the slides instead of the speech. I think the reason there are so many bad presentations is simple: it is supposed to be a speaking tool, but we almost always create the slides in silence. This means we try to cram a lot of information into the slides themselves. It is tempting to want a good presentation to stand on its own, but this is a mistake - the presentation should be a supplement to a speaker. The speaker is the one who should convey all the important information. So instead of sitting alone at your computer to create your slides, grab a colleague and outline the points you want to cover in your presentation. Then think about what you could do on the slides to reinforce the important points. Are there images that can enhance your message?
  2. Information overload. One idea per slide, expressed in fewer than five words. Can't do it? Maybe you should use something other than PowerPoint.
  3. Boring slides. I don't want to watch you read your slides out loud. I can do that a lot faster. If you gave me a printed copy as a handout, I probably already did - and have already tuned you out.
  4. Giving copies of your presentation as handouts. See above - you are telling your audience that it is ok to tune out since they can always read your slides later.
  5. Too many slides. How many times have you heard, "I'll take your questions later, we have a lot of slides to get through"? Think about that for a moment. Do you really expect people to suffer through an over-long presentation just because you couldn't edit your message? There is a limit to how much people can retain. Offer to provide copies later of key reports rather than try to convey all their contents in slide form.

The best speakers I have heard did not use any slides. And the best PowerPoint presentations are worthless on their own. What makes a presentation compelling is a speaker focused on delivering a solid message, and enhancing it well. Don't let your slides do the talking - that's YOUR job!

Jessica Mandala

Posted by Jessica Mandala

About Jessica Mandala

View all posts by Jessica Mandala

This entry was posted in Marketing, Rants