7 Mistakes you might be making using PowerPoint

PowerPoint. Some see it as a necessary evil. Some see it as just evil. But most of us, at some point in our lives, are going to have to give a presentation. Even if you fear it more than death.

Though I would encourage you to not use PowerPoint (visuals like stand alone pictures and videos are much better. But another post for another day) but if you are going to…

7 Mistakes you might be making while using PowerPoint.

We’ve all sat through the painful Powerpoint sessions, either explaining a proposal, new concept. The ways to ruin PowerPoint are endless. But let me touch on a few.

1. Too much text.
a.                    The human brain can read much faster than you can talk but as much as people talk about multitasking, reading and listening are not tasks that go together well. One side or the other lose.
2. Putting your point up on screen first, before you say it.
a.                   Text is a great reinforcer. If you really want to summarize what you said, do so. But do it after, not before or during your first presentation of the point. If you have an operator, you really need to talk this through with them.
3. Funky movements.
a.                   Ah, who doesn’t remember the early days of PowerPoint. Text dropping in, flying out, spinning around. Listen, you are not most likely a special effects person. Don’t do this. Use a simple fade in and fade out.
4. Slide transitions
a.                  There is a movement to simple plain backgrounds, like just black. The jury is out, but my opinion is that a well chosen background adds subtle reinforcement to your message. However… backgrounds must be intentionally chosen, not just clicked on randomly. Once you have chosen a background, keep it consistent throughout. Only your content should move, not the slide.
5. Providing notes.
a.                  Notes are a great way to allow people to follow along in a presentation. But if you are like me, which most busy people are, you are going to scan the notes before the presentation begins and fill in most of the blanks beforehand, at least in your head.
b.                 A much more serious offense is providing the notes and your PowerPoint slides. If you are doing a financial report, great. But if possible, give out the notes on the way out, rather than up front. Everyone will stay more connected to your presentations.
6. Forgetting about the presentation
a.                 PowerPoint is an added tool for a great presentation. Use it to add to, not cover over, the presentation. Your goal is a memorable presentation, not a memorable PowerPoint.
7. Turning away from the crowd to read a slide.
a.                 Put the text in your notes. Don’t lose your crowd by breaking eye contact. They might look away but you shouldn’t.


So there you have it. Maybe not as fun as of our other posts, but it just might get you the job, the promotion, or the open door you need.
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1,035 thoughts on “7 Mistakes you might be making using PowerPoint”

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