In the right hands, PowerPoint is a valuable business aid, especially for delivering information to an audience. However, when creating slideshow presentations, there are a number of habits that it’s wise not to get into unless you wish to join the ranks of those who unwittingly turn their presentations into a snoozefest for anyone who has to sit through them.


Don’t Lose Your Audience With These Mistakes


To make sure your presentations are worth paying attention to, read and heed the following five traps which you definitely shouldn’t fall into when creating PowerPoint presentations. These hints focus very much on the task of designing and creating your slides. In a future post, I’ll cover the mistakes to avoid when you’re actually in front of an audience with your slides on the screen.


Mistake #1. Filling slides with detail:


Don’t do it. Use more slides rather than jamming each one chock full of information. Use the slides to present highlights and deliver the details verbally.


Mistake #2. Filling slides with text:


There are two main problems when you create PowerPoint slides that are full of text. Firstly, when you come to present, your audience will be too busy trying to read your slides to pay any attention to what you’re saying.

Secondly, the fact that you’re talking while your audience is trying to read will only serve to irritate the readers. It’s a vicious circle that you’d do better not to initiate. So use just a few bullet points on each slide, and be sparing with the number of words in each bullet.


Mistake #3. Using text that’s too small to read:


Smaller font sizes may look OK when you view the text on your computer monitor, but that doesn’t mean people will be able to read it once it’s projected onto a screen. Use a large, clear font when creating PowerPoint presentations. If you avoid mistakes 1 and 2 above, you won’t feel the need to use a small font, since you won’t be trying to pack lots of detail or words into each of your slides.


Mistake #4. Using funky fonts:


Doubtless, jazzed-up fonts have a role to play in creating PowerPoint presentations for some purposes, but it’s not for business presentations. Keep your font simple. There’s nothing wrong with a sans serif font like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri. Some might say these fonts are overused, but really, that’s simply because they work.


Mistake #5. Getting creative with colour:


Unless you’re in the business of graphic design (in which case you won’t have much use for this article), playing around with all the pretty colours in the PowerPoint palette isn’t a great idea. When certain colours are used together, the result can be far from easy on your audience’s eyes. Stick to simple colours—Black on white and white on black are perfect for most business presentations.


Still, Have Doubts About Your PowerPoint Prowess?


By avoiding the mistakes outlined in this post, you’ll be some way towards creating PowerPoint presentations that will engage an audience. But if you’re still not sure about your ability (or desire) to create great presentation slides, you can always hire a virtual assistant to put your slide decks together for you, leaving you to concentrate on delivery rather than design.

If you find a VA with good PowerPoint skills, you can be confident your slides will add value to your presentations every time. As an added bonus; you’ll save yourself a lot of time, some of which you can use to rehearse your delivery—which will really help your presentations to shine.