Death by PowerPoint: How to Survive?

Do you know what is Death by PowerPoint? Sounds strange, huh. This is an interesting and common phenomenon that the majority of speakers have faced at least once in their career.

Death by PowerPoint means that your audience does not show any signs of being alive during your poor presentation.

They may fall asleep, go to the bathroom every five minutes, check out their smartphones and do anything else except paying any attention to you, your slides and words. Usually that phenomenon is caused by several common signs of a poor presentation like reading slides, bad graphics and charts, bad public speaking skills, slides mistakes etc.

Today we are going to find a reason why the audience is not alive and we'll talk about problems that make you a poor presenter even if your information is interesting and well prepared. You know WHAT is it – you know HOW to avoid it!

Bad template

What does it mean? Sometimes it's better to use traditional black and white slides than to play with fonts, sizes and formats, with bright backgrounds and terrible contrast combinations. If you do not know what to do, choose a simple one. Often there are opposite recommendations - do not choose the standard template similar to well-known text editors. You make that decision. But we would advise on the basis of our own experience to use a simple one if you are not sure that you can design a complex one and submit it in such a way that the audience perceives information correctly. You can try using black text on white, if you seem too boring white on black, by the way. There is nothing wrong with the combination of black and white, because your presentation will not be empty - you will insert pictures, graphics, texts and other information in it.

Pay close attention to the contrast. Equally bad is a low contrast in combinations of colors - for example, blue on dark blue (it's almost identical shades and they merge visually), and too high contrast, for example, bright yellow on black, which will simply cause a headache in the audience. According to the studies, the worst choice is red on blue and blue on red - discard this combination. Look at your slide for a few minutes: don't evaluate its "beauty", try to see how comfortable it is to see.

Forget about fancy and non-standard fonts. In most cases, they are not relevant in the presentation. No curls, "interesting" details and other deviations: the person's eye poorly perceives non-standard written letters, and your texts will be difficult to read. In addition, sometimes it looks like a circus poster.

Extra sizes and amounts of text

Your presentation may contain a small number of words - after all, you do not come there to read, you present yourself and your knowledge and talk with the audience. But in the question of text location on the screen you are trapped by two problems. The first one is a very small font. Guy Kawasaki recommends not to use fonts smaller than 30 points. From our point of view, you can start even from 40.

How to check your font size for its sufficiency? Step back to the other end of the room or hall and make sure that you can still read the words written on the screen. The second error is too much text. When the text occupies almost the entire slide, it builds itself into the walls, piles up, crawls onto the pictures and gets out the edges of the screen, this makes the audience feel uncomfortable. No one will read it, especially from some distance.

Optimum is to write down only the key points and thoughts, shortly and without superfluous words. 1-3 phrases on the screen look normal. It is also worth staying away from complicated graphs, meaningless and overloaded with information. Better submit your data in a simple and understandable form, and describe the details in words. By the way, don't make 300 slides. The best number is 10-12.

Clipart and animation

Clipart was cool and funny in 1999. Today, when computer graphics has reached unprecedented heights and the presentation has become something as ordinary as possible, when everyone has a lot of opportunities to make it professional, beautiful, spectacular, using special programs and applications, clipart became a time machine sending you two decades back. It looks ridiculous and childish. This also applies to excessive animation - you animate everything in a row, just because you have the ability to do this.

As a result, your audience sees jumping pictures, blinking and capable of causing an attack of epilepsy, even in those who does not suffer from this disease. It is better to use high-quality images and good graphics in moderate amounts. Turn off this blinking! And certainly, no curved headings, like there were in Word when you saw it for the first time.

Important information missing

A common mistake of presenters is to put necessary data about themselves and other important information (addresses, phone numbers, social networks) in the corners or at the edges of the slides. They can be seen, perhaps, by listeners from the first two rows, and all the rest are not able to read a word. The same applies to important accents that are often shifted to inaccessible corners of the screen. If you want to give your coordinates, write them down with the large font on the last slide that remains on the screen at the end of the presentation. And if this information is related to the slide content, put it so that it is noticeable when the slide is shown to the audience.

Find these problems and make sure that your slides are clear, readable and well-seen. To make your presentation efficient and professional use PodioBox - just upload your presentation and we'll take care of the rest. Try for FREE NOW!

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Posted in Tips by PodioBox, PodioProfy on Jul 04, 2017