Unfortunately, some basic mistakes can lead to bad presentations that undermine viewer confidence instead of building it up. Avoid these six common PowerPoint mistakes that DeckRobot lists in this article and you’ll have the power to impress any audience.
1. Too much text
No matter how many times we hear that too much text in PowerPoint is bad, it seems like the message just isn’t getting through. Putting too much text on a single slide is a cardinal sin when it comes to PowerPoint. Because they want to deliver more information about a subject, presenters fill the slides with text, even with irrelevant information, leaving no space for images or other visual media.
The text takes time to read and it is also boring to look at. However, when an audience is given a text, they will try to read it. As they do so, you will be talking and they won’t be listening—because they’re reading.
When you read a book, magazine, or newspaper, you almost always see black text on a white background. This formula is pleasing to the eye and increases readability. Avoid using together weird color combinations such as blue and red, white and yellow. You can always use the pre-installed color themes, in order to save time, or you can experiment and choose the color pairs that you prefer the most.
Tip: DeckRobot suggests a huge library of appealing and pleasing to the human eye templates for your presentations which, by the way, you can set up in a few minutes according to your company’s brand book guidelines.
3. Staring at the screen
All great presentations have one thing in common: they’re designed with the audience in mind. Your PowerPoint slides should be used to supplement your presentation, not serve as a crutch. You’ve expended time and effort to create your presentation and you want to make sure that your audience is listening. That means that you must direct your attention to the audience, not to the screen. If you are shy and hate being in front of people, practice standing forward and moving your eyes to different parts of the room, but all in the vicinity of where your audience is. Look at audience members’ hands, hair, shirts.
Also, remember not to stand right in front of the screen. Blocking the projector will turn your face blue and start to glow, which is a bit creepy. You cover the content your audience is trying so hard to stare at.
4. Making transitions and animations just because you can
Moves and transitions make your presentation more engaging. Creativity is a good thing. But making your text boxes swirl and dance on the screen isn’t creative. While adding some transitions is fine, be sure that they serve a purpose such as directing viewer attention to a certain portion of the slide. Don’t use transitions or animations just because you can. Overuse of these catchy features makes for a presentation that seems all too cliche. Steve Jobs was known for giving some of the most audience-captivating presentations when he presented the iPhone. Did he ever use animations in his slides? No. He didn’t.
The problem with clipart isn’t so much about the cutesy. The real problem is that presenters often use cheap, low-quality clipart to spice up their presentation with a more visual approach without having any real purpose for each image. You must spend enough time searching for the most appropriate clipart and you can gradually develop your own collection of them. The human eye naturally seeks simplicity and clarity. If you clutter your PowerPoint slides with an abundance of cheap visual elements, you’ll confuse viewers and lose their attention. Having too much happening on the screen is overwhelming.
6. Freaking out because something won’t work
When you go into a presentation, get there early and check the equipment. And always have a backup plan. We all have had troubles with technology; people will forgive you if you’re cool about it. As soon as you flip, you’ve lost all credibility with the audience.
Creating a PowerPoint presentation requires an investment of time and effort. Making great presentations should be your top priority. After all, bad presentations don’t offer a good return on investment and can actually damage your professional reputation. Always strive for clarity and professionalism when creating a presentation. Or you can simplify your life with DeckRobot and create beautiful slides in a matter of a few minutes.