Over the years, people have continued to make great strides in presentation abilities, however, with each advancement has come misuse. Knowing they key elements in delivery and how to avoid blunders is crucial to making a compelling presentation. And, as part of the first annual Microsoft PowerPoint awards festival, SlideFest, Microsoft is highlighting the most common misuses in an effort to educate people on making stellar presentations.
The website has even compiled their top five dos and don’ts for presentation slides in video clips, which can be seen here. But, if you don’t have time to watch all five, here’s what you’re missing:
The Graph Gaffe
- Problem: Overly complicated or too many charts/graphs can obscure your point instead of highlighting it. If you have to explain the chart, it’s probably too complex.
- Tip: Try to avoid using too many charts or conveying too many points in a single chart.
- Tip: Don’t use too many graph special effects – charts are supposed to show data, not your artistic abilities.
- Problem: Having too many bullets can kill a presentation and the more bullets you use, the less clear your point becomes.
- Tip: Try moving some of the supporting content into the notes section.
- Tip: See if you can use an image instead of bullets to make your point.
- Problem: Excessive, superfluous animation detracts from the presentation and can even cause motion sickness. In short, if the animation doesn’t help the point, don’t use it.
- Tip: Just try to use simple effects that don’t draw too much attention between sections instead of on every slide.
- Tip: If you’re going to use animation, just use it for dramatic points that you want to emphasize.
- Problem: No one wants to watch you read the slides, so don’t repeat yourself.
- Tip: Have slide images support your oral presentation instead of reading text straight from the slides. After all, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
- Tip: Save print-outs for additional data at the end of the presentation. The focus will stay on the presenter if the audience isn’t reading.
- Problem: Colors help make a presentation look interesting, but presentations first and foremost need to be interesting. Having too much color or too many colors can detract from the point
- Tip: Background colors should support the topic and help text and images stand out.
- Tip: Presentations should be clear and readable from a distance, so try taking a few steps back and seeing if you can see the important points.
These tips may seem simple, but we’ve all been there – sitting through a presentation where we wish the presenter had read these tips first! Hopefully, none of these blunders rang true for you or your presentations, but, if they did, now you know what to avoid and how to make your presentation stand out, keeping the audience focused on you while your presentation supports your argument.