Like it or not, PowerPoint is an art form. Created to supplement a presentation, a bad PowerPoint is unprofessional and distracting while a good PowerPoint effectively highlights certain aspects of a presentation. There are many keys to creating excellent presentations and it is a little overwhelming. To get started, let’s just look at a few of the most common and most damaging mistakes that ruin your PowerPoint presentation design.
This is obvious. Really, there is nothing more unprofessional than a cliché PowerPoint. I can keep this simple. Don’t use clip art, don’t use animations, and don’t insert a picture of a water drop creating ripples.
2. Stock Templates:
I can understand not wanting to spend a ton of time on a PowerPoint and choosing one of the stock templates to speed the process along. However, just think about how much it will pay off to create your own slides. Everybody uses the templates, and you want to stand out.
3. Stock Photography:
This is hit or miss. There have been so many stock images of business men and women talking and smiling that it could almost be included in the cliché category. On the other hand, if you find a unique quality photograph, that can only make you presentation shine.
4. Too Many Images:
This is similar to the previous point. It is a little overwhelming and distracting from your content when there are images plastered all over a slide. A good rule of thumb is to try to stick with a max of one image per slide.
5. Bullet Points:
There are occasions when bullets are useful in a PowerPoint. Generally speaking, most speakers use bullets for everything. There are a number of alternative creative ways to list points. You don’t want a boring or dull presentation.
6. Too Much Text:
Another fine way to create dull and overwhelming slides is to cover them in text. You don’t want every word you plan on saying on the screen. Otherwise, you might as well send a lengthy email instead of giving a presentation. Absolutely no more than six lines per slide.
7. Bad Fonts:
Creativity is great for PowerPoint, but it is not necessarily the right setting for getting creative with fonts. For the sake of your presentation, it’s best to just pretend that Comic Sans and Papyrus don’t exist. Your audience wants text that is easy to read. Try to stick with clean and professional fonts like Gill Sans, Helvetica, and Microsoft Sans Serif.
8. Poor Use of Colors:
It was effective in grade school, but making a rainbow out of your words is not the best strategy for a professional presentation. Using a bold color (usually white or black) that really stands out from your background is going to really help create a crisp presentation. Also, try using an accent color to emphasize specific words.
Remember, PowerPoint is a supplement your presentation. The slides are not your whole presentation. You never want to find that your audience is only paying attention to your slides. That is distracting from you. Your PowerPoint should serve to highlight certain aspects of your presentation. If you keep all this in mind, you will have a powerful tool to help perfect your presentations.