This is really more about ugly PowerPoint presentations, rather than ugly features in PowerPoint. As I mentioned in the two previous pages, PowerPoint is really a great tool to use as an accompaniment to your oral presentation. However, many people believe that PowerPoint is the presentation. Not so.
Again in no particular order -
- Poor font choices
A PowerPoint presentation usually has many slides that contain text. But if the audience can't read the text on the slides, what good are they? Make sure there is good contrast between the slide background color and the text color. Avoid script type fonts, as they are hard to read. Keep the fonts simple and don't use less than a 30 point font for easy reading in the back rows.
- Change Font Styles and Colors
- Change the Default Font in PowerPoint 2007
- 10 Font Tips for Presenters
- Tips for Font Problems in PowerPoint
Nothing is more boring than sitting through a PowerPoint presentation that contains only text. Keep your audience interested by including pictures and other graphics such as pertinent charts that reflect the content of your presentation. Drive your point home with a picture rather than text.
- 5 Quick PowerPoint Tips on Graphics and Text
- Communicate Visually with SmartArt
- Add Clip Art and Pictures in PowerPoint 2007
- Add Pictures or Clip Art to PowerPoint
Avoid unusual or electrifying color choices. Many are unsettling to the audience, or hard to read, so they won't be listening for your message. Pick a background color that is suitable for the topic and make sure there is good contrast between the background and font color choices. If possible stick to two main colors and use a third color sparingly, as an accent.
So many presenters rely on PowerPoint as being their presentation. I cannot stress this enough -- you are the presentation. PowerPoint is an enhancement to the presentation. Along this vein, there are two frequent mistakes made by presenters.
- Too much text
Do not write the complete content for the presentation on the slides. PowerPoint is meant only as an accompaniment to your oral presentation. If all you are going to do is write your whole speech on the slides, everyone could just stay home. Why would they need you?
Keep the text to a minimum on your slides -- use "jot notes". Three or four bullet points is plenty for a slide. If a simple graphic will illustrate your point, use it rather than text.
- Reading the slides
Along with too much text on the slides, nothing is worse than a presenter who turns toward the screen and proceeds to read the slides to the audience. Again, what does the audience need you for? Email them a handout of the presentation and save everyone the time and money.
Animations are meant to add a little pizzazz to your presentation, and preferably grab the audience's attention for an important point. Use them sparingly and your presentation will be much more effective. Remember that old cliché "less is more".
- Custom Animations in PowerPoint 2007
- Apply Custom Animations in PowerPoint
- Animation Schemes in PowerPoint 2003
Transitions are similar to animations in that they should be used only to enhance your presentation. If you use transitions, try to keep them simple and use the same one throughout the presentation. The audience should be interested in your message, not how you can dazzle them with motion.
- Slide Transitions in PowerPoint 2007
- Add Slide Transitions in PowerPoint
- 5 Tips About Slide Transitions in PowerPoint
Although sound effects are included with the program, and you can easily add your own, use music and sound effects either to make a crucial point (sound effect) or as subtle ambient background music. You can embed music into PowerPoint presentations or play tracks from a CD. Music, sounds or narration each have their uses in a variety of presentation situations. Use them wisely.
- Sound, Music and Narration in PowerPoint 2007
- Sound or Music Problems in PowerPoint 2007
- Add Music, Sounds or Narration to PowerPoint Presentations
- Music or Sound Problems in PowerPoint
(Check the sample at the top, right of this page).
Although using the design templates can speed up the process of creating an attractive PowerPoint presentation, many of the templates are simply too busy or glitzy, and some are downright ugly, at least in my opinion. The simpler the better is always my choice. You want to use PowerPoint as an aid to get your message across. So many speakers forget that the audience came to see and hear them and not their PowerPoint accompaniment.
Use the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it silly simple) when creating your visual presentation. Then you can be sure the audience gets the message you intended and was not just dazzled -- or worse -- mystified by what they saw on screen.
- Design Themes in PowerPoint 2007
- Applying a Design Template in PowerPoint
- Custom Design Templates and Master Slides in PowerPoint