6 Common PowerPoint Pitfalls to avoid

PowerPoint: some people love it and some people loath it. So, what's the reality? Well it is still the default presentation software for the vast majority of business presentations.

In simple truth, PowerPoint is just a tool. It is not, of itself, a good or bad thing. Used well it can add value to your presentations by helping you make your points clearly to your audience in an engaging and memorable way. Used poorly and all roads lead to the frequently experienced 'death by Power Point.

It is said that 350 Power Point presentations are starting somewhere in the world every second.  That's quite a frightening thought isn't it? Especially when you think of just how many uninspiring presentations you have sat (slept?) through.

So what are the common errors experienced in business and social presentations across the globe?

Typical PowerPoint Pitfalls

Too many slides

You know the moment. The presenter opens his or her presentation and you notice in the corner of the slide display 1 of 78. Your heart stops. This is supposed to be a 15 minute presentation. You decide to consider your options: short snooze, crafty email checking or simply counting down hoping the end will be swift and painless. Whichever option you choose, your attention is not on the content.

There is no definitive number of slides as it is so dependent of the quality and content of the visuals. As a general rule less is always more, and if you have more than one slide for every minute of presentation time it is time to review your content.

Too much text

Nothing kills the mood of an audience quicker than the presenter reading content from their slides. At best it is really dull and at worst it is offensive, suggesting either you don't believe your audience can read or that you simply couldn't be bothered to prepare well.

Too small fonts

In an attempt to get as much information onto their slides as possible, presenters end up cramming their text and labels into smaller and smaller spaces, testing the eye sight and patience of their audience. They then pull out the laser pointer and attempt to help their audience see the key information by waving a small dot about.

Too many bullet points

This typically happens when the presenter (you know who you are) is really using their slide deck as their auto cue. The bullet point is there simply to remind the presenter what comes next. It is not designed in any way to help the audience get the message.

Too complex

In an attempt to look professional presenters frequently over complicate their graphics and content. The effect is confusing and ends up making those members of your audience who are prepared to make an effort,  work really hard to try and find your message.

Too much data

Data is important, and can really help your audience relate to your key points. Draw attention only to key facts. In reality, much of the data can be sent before or after the presentation to be read and analysed by your audience in the comfort their own environment. 

Find out how I can help you overcome these pitfalls with clear practical tips and advice you can use straight away, whoever you are presenting to.