Top PowerPoint Mistakes

PowerPoint presentations can actually be a great way to enhance your presentation. Unfortunately, however, many presenters don’t know how to use this tool effectively. People tend to pack tons of content onto a handful of slides, stand in front of the audience, and read it to them. This is commonly referred to as “death by PowerPoint” and is the fastest way to bore an audience. Designing a well-crafted PowerPoint can mean the difference between a boring presentation and an engaging one. Therefore, avoid these top PowerPoint mistakes when preparing your next presentation. 

Putting Too Much Text on a Slide

Easily the most common mistake presenters make when creating a PowerPoint is to put too much text on each slide. When it comes to your slide deck, remember that less is always more. Naturally, people will want to read everything they see on the screen and if they are reading paragraphs of information, they aren’t listening to what you are saying. Furthermore, people read at different speeds and some people may not finish reading the slide before you move on to the next.  Stick to bullet points rather than complete sentences and remember that your slides are only meant to accompany what you are saying. YOU are the main source of information, not your slides.

Poor Fonts

This is not the time for fancy script fonts or colored fonts that are difficult to read. The idea is that the audience can quickly and easily read what’s on the screen. Be mindful of the size, color, and design of your font and remember that playful fonts are not appropriate in a business setting. Rather, stick to fonts that are simple, clean, and sharp and use the same font for the entire presentation. 

Using Cheesy Clipart and Animations

Visuals can be a great addition to a PowerPoint, but this does not include cheesy clipart  and childish animations. Not only does this look unprofessional, but it can take away from your credibility as a speaker. If you do wish to include some visuals, choose a more relevant image such as a photograph, a high quality video clip, or a simple graph. 

Distracting Transitions

PowerPoint comes with plenty of built-in transitions that can take you from one slide to the next. This includes fade-ins, fade-outs, cut-across slides, and more. However, these kinds of transitions do nothing but distract the audience. Avoid these and stick to hard transitions only. On that same note, avoid text movement such as having each bullet point “pop” onto the screen or glide across the screen. Again, these effects can be very distracting to audiences and can take away from your overall message. 

Complex Charts and Graphs

Charts and graphs can be an excellent way to display data. However, you must make sure that your charts and graphs are simple and easy to understand. Putting too much data or too many numbers can dilute your message and confuse the audience. When creating charts and graphs, make sure the data is clear and easy for audiences to grasp.

No Slide Consistency

While you want your slides to be engaging and eye-catching, it’s not a good idea to mix up fonts, colors, text styles, and backgrounds on every slide of your presentation. If every slide has a different font, transition, and background, it can become very distracting to your audience. Instead, keep your slides clean and consistent.