Marketing, Presentations, Talking to Customers

Ten Tips (No Nos) for Creating a PowerPoint Presentation

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With PowerPoint, anyone can create a presentation…right? WRONG. Some people just shouldn’t.

Before PowerPoint, presentations were only created by marketing people who worked with graphics professionals to create slides. These are people who know how to write and how to design and use color. Most people now who create presentations don’t have a clue.

Here are some things NOT to do when creating a presentation.

  1. Don’t use too many words on a slide. You’ve all seen those slides with tons of words crowded on one slide and people are squinting to read what the slides says…if they bother at all. Most likely they won’t bother.
  2. Don’t use too few words on a slide. While forcing too many words on a slide is ineffective, so is creating a slide with too few words on a slide. Presentations are often passed around to customers, prospects, sales guys, and other managers. They will have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about if you don’t use enough words to explain what the bullets mean.
  3. Don’t use a gazillion different (and competing colors). Some people just don’t have a sense of color and they use too many colors randomly. It just looks awful. Don’t do it.
  4. Don’t capitalize every word in a bullet. This is a personal pet peeve of mine. What’s the point of doing this? There is no point.
  5. Don’t use amateurish clip art. I once did consulting for a client who insisted that the presentations she gives at conferences are very professional. That client used the kind of clip art your elementary school kid would use for a school project. There’s nothing professional looking about that. AT ALL.
  6. Don’t use a picture or any kind of graphic if it has no relevance to the slide. Sure, using a picture adds interest to a presentation, but make sure it adds something to the slide. You don’t want the viewer to be sitting there thinking “Huh?” when they see the picture.
  7. Don’t include information or pictures without giving (or purchasing) proper credit. Do you have permission to include that chart from XYZ analyst or did you at least acknowledge below the chart that the analyst developed the chart? If it’s a photo, did you buy the rights to use the photo (or get it from a free site like the ones I’ve used on my blog so far)? Have you acknowledged copyrights?
  8. Don’t use different fonts and type sizes for titles and the same level of bullets. When I see a presentation that has Arial font, point size 24 for the title on one slide and Trebuchet font, point size 18 for the title on another slide, I can guess that the presentation was developed by a non-marketing person. Ever heard of consistency?
  9. Don’t use too many special effects. Sure, those diagonal fade-ins are pretty cool, but if you use special effects like that on every slide and on every bullet of every slide, all of a sudden the presentation is huge. And it can be rather annoying to the person watching the presentation.
  10. Don’t ramble and don’t go on too long. No one likes a presentation that drags on and on and doesn’t really go anywhere. Stick to the point (you do have one, right?) and give the customer/listener what they came to hear.

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