Avoiding Death by PowerPoint

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

You have another one of THOSE days ahead…meeting after meeting leaving no time to get your work done. It wouldn’t be so bad if the meetings were well organized and resulted in clear movement forward. But perhaps the worst part of all the meetings is…the dreaded Death by PowerPoint.

Just look at the audience. Are they engaged after five minutes? They have better things to do than slog along as a speaker tries to fit every conceivable piece of data into a maze of slides in a darkened room with the monotonous hum of the heating and ventilation system. Talk about sleep inducing!


It’s difficult to engage for very long when the presenter packs each slide with enough data for four slides. Bullet points fill every available space and keep flying in from every direction. The presentation includes so many KEY points, and words pop up in 12 different ways that after slide 3, you cannot begin to remember why you’re listening or where this is going.


Less is more

You want your audience to be engaged, and you want to achieve your presentation objectives. Therefore, make it obvious how each main point supports the objectives. Make sure each main point can stand alone. Support your main points with appropriate amounts of data, but avoid going down a rabbit-hole to chase your favorite tangent.


You are the architect

You’re building a structure that must stand on the main points. When there are too many points or way too much data for some, the structure looks and more importantly, feels unbalanced and offends the viewer. Design each slide to help the audience see the fit.

  • Each slide needs to have a clear purpose in the total design

  • Limit the amount of text per

  • Each slide should have one significant point – not one point per line

  • If a slide contains too much information, break into multiple slides (You won’t be charged extra for using another slide!)

Which slide is more engaging?

People remember and integrate visuals much better than words

  • Replace text with compelling visual images when possible

  • Ensure numbers, graphs and charts are easy to read

  • Provide simple captions to graphs and charts to drive your point home


Use a consistent look and feel

Your slides need to work together taking your audience on a journey. By utilizing a consistent look and feel you create the white lines on the side of the road, keeping your audience on the right track.

  • Avoid font alphabet soup

  • Be consistent with your color pallet

  • Be big and bold with font sizes and colors


Resist using your slide as a crib sheet

Your slide is not a crib sheet, there to provide all the information you hope not to forget. Rather, think of each slide as a delivery mechanism for your audience to remember your main point. No one will remember a wordy, over-stuffed slide. They will remember a succinct point, a vivid picture or a concise chart.


You are the driver of successful presentations. Don’t let cool slides, video, and artwork take over the presentation. You want to keep the focus on what you say, how you say it, and achieving your objectives. You want to be remembered as the presenter who is polished and professional…not the one who encourages mid-day naps!

#PresentationSkills #Communication

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