How PowerPoint Can Kill Your Presentation

Cover image
A person holding a computer while making a presentation.

Visuals are important to a presentation because they allow you to emphasis the main points to your audience both orally and visually. And using PowerPoint as a presentation tool can do that for you; however, misusing the tool can also kill your presentation. Consider these five comments your audience might say if you use PowerPoint as an ineffective presentation tool.

1. I could have just requested a copy of the slides.

You are the presentation – not your PowerPoint slides. Use the slides to support your main points and avoid using them to repeat verbatim what you are saying. Support what you say by including key words or phrases, charts and graphs, tables, illustrations, and pictures in your slides.

2. I came here to listen to a presentation not read one.

Make cue cards for yourself; don’t put them up on the slides. When there is too much text, your audience will stop listening and just read. The focus will not be on you, but rather on the text on your slides. People remember visuals over words.

3. I don’t understand how this relates to the presentation.

Make sure you have a clear objective for your presentation and ensure that each slide says something related to that objective. Take the time to plan your presentation by identifying your main points, planning and researching your information, organizing the content, and preparing an outline. As you are creating your presentation, use your outline to stay focused on your objective. You will then be less likely to have irrelevant information in your PowerPoint presentation.

4. I can’t focus on the slide, it’s just too busy.

Design a standard look for your slides. Create a simple template that contains the colours and design elements you will use. The billboard test is a great way to ensure you’ve created an effective slide. Ask yourself – if this slide were a billboard, could people understand it while they drove by?

5. There is just too much to remember. I can’t retain anything.

Remember that when it comes to creating PowerPoint slides, less is more. Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much information. Focus on 3-5 main points throughout your presentation and your audience will most likely remember what you said. When designing a PowerPoint presentation, follow the 10-20-30 rule – no more than 10 slides, no more than 20 minutes, and no less than 30 size font.

Marie Antaya avatar

By Marie Antaya, CTDP

Author of The Eclectic Writing Series.