PowerPoint has become ubiquitous in business presentations. Whether your are pitching an website upgrade to an existing client or trying to attract a new client, you probably depend on this easy to produce, effective tool to get your message across.
But PowerPoint slideshows can actually hurt your credibility if you don’t use them effectively. PowerPoint should be a tool to improve your visuals, not a distraction.
Here, then, are some top mistakes to avoid when making your next PowerPoint presentation.
- Take It Easy with the Sound Effects — When PowerPoint was first introduced more than a decade ago, the stock sound effects were a novelty. Today, they are a distraction, especially when the same sound effect is included with every slide transition or when trite sound effects are used, such as clapping at the end. Your want the people watching your presentation to focus on your message, not on the technology.
- Standard Clipart Is Cliched — PowerPoint is now used so often that the standard clipart that comes with it has become stale and cliched. Depending on it shows a lack of creativity. A better idea is to scan your own photos or choose more original graphics from one of many online companies. Or consider whether you need graphical images at all. Screen captures often add more realism when making a presentation about a website or software.
- Pre-Made PowerPoint Templates — Many of the templates the come with PowerPoint are outdated. They often include distracting backgrounds or stale color combinations. Come up with your own distinctive look or incorporate your company logo in the corner of the screen.
- Too Much Text — Slides shouldn’t simply be scripts of what you are reading. They should depict your idea graphically or summarize key points. Avoid slides that contain full paragraphs, quotations or even full sentences. Bullet points work well. Images and graphics work even better.
- Be Prepared for Disaster — Anticipate the worst and hope for the best. Have a backup plan — such as pass-outs or a flip chart — ready just in case your PowerPoint doesn’t work for whatever reason.