Why is creating a presentation so blinking hard?

Monday, May 17th, 2010 by Simon Morton

We spend a lot of time advising people – whether they are existing clients (and, without wishing to boast, we’ve got a fair few…), new clients, blog readers, people on the bus and presenters we meet around the country at various events. Because of this we spend a lot of time talking people through how to make the most from PowerPoint…and how to avoid the common pitfalls that befall many presenters.

So if we were to boil it down, what are the 3 main reasons that lie behind the dreaded “Death by PowerPoint” presentation?

1. Lack of time

Sounds so simple really, but it is at the heart of many a poorly constructed slide set jam packed with small words and large clipart.

StopwatchWithin this lack of time is included a lack of planning and a dearth of any real thought about what is required by the audience or what outcome is trying to be achieved. More often than not the cut and paste option gets overused due to ease of re-using a previous set of slides…and it leads to a pretty uninspiring presentation.

You can even spot the laziest of presenters as they tend to skip past slides saying things like “Oh, don’t worry about these ones,” or “I thought I’d taken these out” as they’ve simply re-used a slide deck without even going through them.

2. Opening PowerPoint

OK, so you have to open PowerPoint at some point to make a PowerPoint presentation – but (and it’s a big but) most people make the mistake of it being the very first thing they do.

It’s also worth noting that by opening an alternative to PowerPoint (Apple’s Keynote, Prezi, SlideRocket…the list goes on) is no better an option – it’s just as bad.

This is bad because all you’re doing is writing some slides randomly – and not a presentation. You will end up with a set of slides that are disconnected, don’t have a cohesive story and don’t underpin a key message.

3. Content overload

A huge number of people think that by putting in as much information as possible they can demonstrate just how much of an expert they are in their subject of choice.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. By overloading the content you will end up doing 1 of 2 things to your audience – you will either bamboozle them and/or bore them senseless.

DEvil-StickerSo there we are, the 3 culprits lie before you – any of them sound familiar?

Thought so, well report back here in 3 days and we’ll uncover the ways to overcome these. 

If you seek redemption quicker than that, pop along to the PowerPoint Amnesty pages to help you out of the rut!

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