I was thinking that there is currently a wave and rant of death by PowerPoint, etc. And yesterday, I posted some tips to make a good PowerPoint, so I thought I would now post the opposite. But before my tips, here is a hilarious video regarding this.
My TOP 10 (some taken from the video for those who couldn't hear it very well)
- Put every word you will say into the slides. This makes the slides crowded, wordy and boring. You will lose your audience’s attention before you finish the first slide.
- Don’t run Spell Cheek or depend too much on Spell Cheek—BIG MISTACK!! Check the spelling visually too! Just because there is no red line (or green line for that matter) under the words, it doesn’t mean that it is right.
- Avoid excessive bullet pointing. Only bullet key points. Too many bullet points and all your points are the same. In other words, your key points will not stand out. In fact, the term bullet points come from people firing guns at annoying presenters. (Oh, I wish)
- Bad color schemes. Clashing backgrounds and font colors can lead to distraction, confusion, nausea, headache, vomiting, and loss of bladder control. And color schemes that are too close are almost invisible. Don't have a forest green background and then write in dark green. It doesn't make sense (and yes, I have actually seen this!).
- Too much stuff. This causes chaos and effectiveness plummets. For the ADD or the LD person, this is a tragic loss of good teaching. The basic rule of thumb is keep each slide to one major point with no more than two or three other points with no more than 6-10 words. Less really is more here.
- Too much animation. This too causes chaos, distress, and distracts from the main message of the slide. I just want to animate myself out of the room. Too bad I have made a commitment to myself not to engage in anything else other than the meeting at hand, no matter how bad it gets.
- Bad slide transition. The spinning transition just wants to make you do flips and fall out of your chair in such nausea and confusion. Some would say no slide transitions, but I am favorable to minimal, classy and appropriate transitions.
- Cheesy images and clip art. There is a massive difference between quality, professional images and cheap stuff. It’s okay to use good quality clip art, but not clip art from the 1990’s. Plus, clip art screams LAST MINUTE or LAZY!
- Notes and workbooks. PowerPoint slides and notes do not constitute good notes. Have you ever heard the presenter ask a question and then immediately say, “Don’t look down!” panicing because they realized it was on the slide! Or before they ask a question, they say, “Without any looking at their notes…” Just don’t do it. Do something else. Don’t take the easy way out. Seriously. If I can get the information by reading your PowerPoint slides without your presentation, then why do I need to be at your presentation? Why can’t I just read it? It will be faster.
- Small Fonts! Oh dear. If everyone can see superhumanly then this is not a problem, but the fact is many just tune out because they can’t see! Ever seen someone in the crowd just squinting to see your presentation? Yes, they may have forgotten their glasses but maybe not if you’re using anything less than 30pt font! Now, if the computer screen is right in front of them, it’s a different story, but if you are actually presenting to a crowd, come on!
Basic Point: Bad presentations lead to bad communications which leads to bad relations which leads to less sales which leads to less money which leads to less training which leads to more bad presentations and so on until the training department loses their job altogether.
And, here is a fantastic PowerPoint about this as well with SlideShare.net.