There are approximately 300 million users of PowerPoint and its beautiful aesthetics and on an average 300 million, PowerPoint presentations are created every day without fail. There is no need for having an IQ above 200 to figure out how depressing these presentations are and what it puts its viewers through.
What presenters need to understand is that PowerPoint is not a document creation tool. Nor it is a tool to jot down each of the facts, statistics and other information that you have acquired throughout his life.
Even though human beings are gifted with the ability to read, write and learn unlike other species on this planet, you ought to understand their attention span is smaller than that of a goldfish!. So, nobody has the time or patience to sit through a boring talk stuffed with text, graphics and what not!.
The presentation might seem interesting to you but for your audience, it is nothing short of “DEATH BY POWERPOINT”.
Human beings, no matter how talented species they are, ain’t got the ability to read and listen at the same time especially when a text-laden slide is presented before them and when the text is not visible from a distance.
Let me elaborate on what this Death By PowerPoint is!
No, it is not an actual death! PowerPoint isn’t a murderer. However, the presenter can be!
Jokes aside, according to Wikipedia and their knowledgeable team Death by PowerPoint is characterized as the boredom caused by a dull and boring PowerPoint presentation normally consisting of bulleted aka Bull***T lists and conventional graphics and we couldn’t agree more!.
What actually causes death is the presenter talking a little about the first slide, then showing other, talking about it and this becomes a never-ending cycle which ends only when half of the audience doze off. Well, yes literally doze zzzzzz….. Off!
What a sinful act to put the audience to sleep with a dull and monotonous presentation! But the question is how to avoid it? What does it take to prevent “DEATH” with your PowerPoint presentation?
The answer is, indeed, very simple. But we will come to that later on.
First, let us learn what makes a presentation BAD, so much so that it becomes a killer!
1. Too Much Information
The most fundamental mistake that labels a presentation BAD is adding too much text to the slide. Because the presenter wants to deliver every piece of information to his audience, he leaves no room for graphics and images.
2. Bizarre Fonts and their Disproportionate Sizes
The second thing that a BAD presentation has is the use of fonts that do not match with the content. Also, the fonts they have added are too small in size making them difficult to read.
3. Image Pixelation
Image pixelation happens when the presenter just stuffs his presentation with bad quality visuals. As soon as the presentation is presented on a widescreen the images get blurry making them impossible to view from a distance and sometimes even upfront which does not look professional at all.
4. Bad Contrast
Color scheme of the presentation plays a very important role in determining whether it will be labeled as GOOD or BAD. Whether it is the color of the text or the background, each aspect influences the presentation. A bad presentation has a bad color scheme to it.
5. Irrelevant Animation
The worst mistake in a presentation is the use of animation that is irrelevant and unnecessary. Animating the boxes to make them move and dance does not show one’s creativity; rather, it shows that the presenter just found the animation button but has absolutely no clue how to use it.
6. Disorganized slides
Along with the fonts and animations, what makes a presentation bad are disorganized slides. If the first slide has no relevance to the second slide then obviously it is a bad presentation.
7. Dull and Boring Content
Sometimes, content is the culprit of making a presentation bad. All you need is to strike your audience with a long speech and you are done! Dozen of them are fast asleep and others are trying to hold their heads high but unable to do so for very long. Dull content is all you need to title your presentation as BAD and sometimes even WORSE.
How to avoid Death By PowerPoint
Now coming to the main point, how to avoid this “Death”?
Here are a few steps and a little tough love for shunning the title of a BAD presentation and keeping your audiences alive and kicking.
1. The KISS Rule is all you need
KISS aka “Keep It Short and Simple” should be the motto of you as a presenter. This simply means don’t complicate your PPT slides with a lot of text; rather keep it short, crisp and to the point. Also, make sure that the text included should be simple to read and comprehend by the audiences.
2. KIFP aka Keep it Fast-Paced And Moving
Another point worth following is to keep your slides fast-paced. That means don’t dwell too much into details. Show details in the PowerPoint slide only where it is necessary. Keep your PPT slides and sub-topics moving at a fast pace so that the audience doesn’t get bored. Getting into too much semantics will result in losing the interest of your audience which is the last thing that a presenter desires.
3. Modest use of Transitions and Animations
Animations and transitions accord an aesthetic appeal to a presentation. But they also have the capacity to bring a BAD name to your presentation if not used sparingly as mentioned by us previously. Excessive use of animations and transitions can lead to a lot of issues in one’s presentation such as confusing slides, system hangs and slides moving slower than a turtle. Therefore, if a presenter urges to use animations, he should use them sparingly, keeping in mind the virtues of modesty.
4. Applying a relevant PowerPoint Template
PowerPoint Templates are a blessing in disguise, especially for beginners who have no clue of what a good presentation looks like.
A good and a pleasing PowerPoint template can be the secret sauce or the heart and soul of a good presentation transforming it from drab to fab within seconds. Therefore, a presenter should choose PowerPoint templates very carefully and with utmost precision to ensure 100% success.
Download These Engaging PowerPoint Templates
5. Follow the 1-6-6 rule to add text
Text laden slides are enough to get your presentation to drown in the dark waters and once it drowns there is no chance of getting it up and working. To avoid this, follow the 1-6-6 rule that means each slide consisting of not more than 6 lines and not more than 6 words in each line.
Though it is quite difficult to implement, we are certain you as a presenter will make use of this rule to save your audiences from getting killed!
6. Storytelling with a twist
Nobody wants to be bombarded with statistical data in the form of charts and graphs that are as boring as HELL. They are not only ugly but also very difficult to comprehend. Therefore, adopt storytelling as everybody loves a good story that can help elevate their mood as well as the stats of your presentation. Instead of text-laden slides, deliver a great story aided with visuals which are sure to attract your audience's attention.
7. Attractive and readable color scheme
Blue background and an orange font! Ouch, my eyes! This is what your audience will say if you have a bizarre color scheme. At least don’t give them eyesores with your presentation. Show them that you care about them and their eyes.
Therefore, use the right color scheme for your presentation that blends well with it. Also using the right color scheme can help make your presentation stand out in the crowd and make it visually attention-grabbing.
8. Win Minds and Hearts with your presentation
While action-packed and larger-than-life stories do sell like hotcakes in cinemas they don’t really work for a presentation, unless they have something with which people can relate to. The one that is relevant to them will never be left unnoticed.
So, give your audience an experience worth remembering by imparting them the knowledge that they are willing to take home with them. The best way to do so is to share with them your real-life experiences. However, these experiences ought to be relevant to your presentation topic.
9. Body Language says it all
Body language of the presenter also plays a very important role. Therefore, always face your audience while presenting. Never face the presentation. In the case of no eye contact, the audiences are bound to lose interest in what the presenter is saying.
10. Be Calm, Don't Panic
Last, but not the least. Stay calm and composed while presenting. There is a possibility of temporary glitches happening once in a while in your presentation. But do not lose your calm and panic as being calm is the only way to get past it. Regardless of the type of issue, you are facing, don’t lose your cool. Perhaps calmness is what made the world’s greatest orators the greatest and differentiated them from the rest.
And if you are under the impression that Steve Jobs (well we all know who he is) has never faced any issue while presenting, then Think again!
Now that you know about how PowerPoint causes ‘DEATH’ and how to avoid it, we have added some bonus TED Talk examples to get inspired from!
This is our topic so how could we miss this TED Talk. Apart from being relevant to our topic the speaker David JP Philips shares some great tips and tricks to create top-notch PowerPoint presentations. Being the author of the famous book “How To Avoid Death By PowerPoint”, Philips teaches thousands of professionals worldwide the mantra of creating powerful and effective PPT slides and presentations.
He just waved the palm of his hand and that was enough for Allan Pease to convince his audience to follow his given instructions. Without using any power or external force he was able to influence his audience.
This influential TED Talk showed that when we talk to our audiences, our palms should face upwards as it can dramatically alter the way they perceive the talk to be. Also, the direction of the palm affects their retention and memory.
To prove his point he quoted the example of Romans who locked their hands, with the stronger person pushing his hand on top of the other.
After going through this talk and applying the technique shown you will be able to get the response from your audience that you desire for!
Have you ever thought as to why some of the talks and presentations are so inspiring that they immediately induce call-to-action? Well, you will surely find your answer in this TED Talk by Nancy Duarte in which she shares the hidden secret of an excellent presentation. In her awe-inspiring talk and by quoting some examples of great speakers like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King she says that if you share your idea in a way that resonates with the audience, the change will happen. You will see the shift because you have the power inside you to change the world!
Have more ideas on Death by PowerPoint and how to avoid it? Share them in the comment section below!