Powerpoint presentations are not like any other method of communicating information. They’re not like a diagram, which means you can’t just use one slide for your entire speech. Neither are they like documents so you can’t fly through 100 slides in 15 minutes. Avoid these common mistakes so your presentation adds value to what you have to say.
Too Many Words
The words on your slide must be big enough for everyone to understand even in a large auditorium. To accomplish that, your text must be limited to about three or four lines per slide, with a maximum of five words per line. Your slide must supplement rather than substitute for what you’re saying.
Too Many Slides
Your powerpoint slides are there to accompany your presentation. You are not there as an audio accessory to the slides. Don’t try to show one slide for every sentence that you have to say. Instead, use each slide to reinforce only the most important points of your presentation. About one slide every three minutes is ideal.
You audience will not have the luxury of studying your graphic in detail like they would if they were looking at one in a magazine. They’ll divide their attention between what’s on the screen and what you’re saying. Keep your image simple enough that the person sitting in the back row can understand it. Avoid adding excess text to your picture because you’ll be supplying any explanations. Take a look at the following “Before and After” slides.
The slide “Before” slide was provided by the client and had so many extra lines that it was difficult to know what we should focus on. The “After” slide includes a stock photo to add interest. It also has a simplified headline which gets right to the point. And finally, it illustrates the expenditures for each school using a greatly simplified bar graph with dollar amounts more prominently displayed.
Any animation that you add to a slide must have a point. For example, you may want to show how a complex product or process works. Don’t include spinning pictures or sliding text just to add variety to the slide. You’re audience will get dizzy and start to ignore your slides just for some relief.