PowerPoint is one of the most used presentation software programs in the world with about 120 million active users creating up to 30 million presentations per day.
Yet a lot of those presentations still include many PowerPoint no-no’s.
If you want your PowerPoint presentation to stand out from the crowd then feel free to call Nuts & Bolts Speed Training and make sure you steer clear of these 7 most common PowerPoint mistakes.
1. Poor contrast
This is really PowerPoint 101, but so many people make the most basic mistake of creating presentations with poor contrast. Using super bright fonts on dark backgrounds, or light colours on white backgrounds is going to give your poor audience a headache very quickly.
That’s why creating a background with good contrast, is the first essential building block for creating a killer presentation. If you get this wrong, very little else will be right!
The contrast between your PowerPoint backgrounds and any text you place on top of them should make it easy for your audience to read.
And when in doubt, just keep it simple. Black on white, or white on black. Save the bright colors for other presentation items, such as images, graphics, and headers.
2. Using overly complex charts and graphs
Complex data doesn’t have to mean complex charts or graphs. Many people have a tendency for packing too much information into their graphs and charts, thinking that it will make their graphs easier to understand.
Instead, all this does is confuse and make your presentation look messy and meaningless, which defeats the purpose of using graphs in the first place!
Keep your graphs simple and to the point – ideally highlighting one point per chart – to help your audience focus on the main point you are trying to make.
3. Too text heavy
One of the most common mistakes in PowerPoint presentations is creating slides which include too much text. It’s VERY distracting.
Your PowerPoint slides should be thought of as supporting elements for your presentation that shouldn’t take the attention away from what you are actually saying during your presentation.
Too much text can also mean you end up reading from the screen, and that’s just boring.
When it comes to text on slides, less is always more. Stick to bullet points or limit blocks of text to around 50 words per slide, or better yet, use graphics instead of words.
4. No slide consistency
Some people, in an attempt to keep their audience’s attention, are tempted to create slides with many different colors, fonts and text styles. Again, it is headache-inducing and it’s distracting.
This is again why choosing a consistent and solid background for your slides and graphics is so important (including your color schemes and fonts).
Consistency also refers to your company branding. If you’re company branding is red and black, but your entire presentation is in pink and white, then you’re going to confuse your audience with your inconsistent presentation formatting.
5. Using ‘fun’ fonts
If you have to rely on quirky fonts to make your presentation interesting, then you may need to work on it a little more!
Handwritten-style fonts, Comic Sans, or any overly stylized fonts makes your presentation look amateurish and they are hard to read.
Remember, your presentation is about delivering information and if your audience can’t read any part of your message, then that’s a huge mistake.
Keep it simple and stick to classic fonts, such as Calibri, Century Gothic or Arial that are easy to read and look professional.
6. Overuse of animations and transitions
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Animations and slide transitions can be fun and add flair to your presentation but using them too much can be a cliché and make your presentation appear very unprofessional. Use them sparingly and only to pack that punch when it’s really necessary.
7. Sticking to pre-installed backgrounds and templates
While PowerPoint does come with a whole host of default backgrounds and templates for you to choose from, they have been used and seen a million times over. Sticking with the same old slide design can look dated and dull.
Plus, there really is no excuse when it is so easy to make a few changes to personalize your template, add branding, download new templates, or even create your own designs from scratch.
There are loads of free sites to find suitable (and free) PowerPoint templates.
To find out more about creating your own PowerPoint backgrounds for more engaging and successful presentations, see this article here.